Food Culture in France
France. Cartography by Bookcomp, Inc.
Food Culture in
Food Culture around the World Ken Albala, Series Editor
GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut · London
TX719. www. by any process or technique.5'944—dc22 2006031524 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available.Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Abramson. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2006031524 ISBN-10: 0–313–32797–1 ISBN-13: 978–0–313–32797–1 ISSN: 1545–2638 First published in 2007 Greenwood Press. Food culture in France / Julia Abramson. CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group. French. Julia. No portion of this book may be reproduced. p.greenwood. I.A237 2007 641. users should apply judgment and experience when preparing recipes. Copyright © 2007 by Julia Abramson All rights reserved. The publisher accepts no responsibility for the outcome of any recipe included in this volume. ISSN 1545–2638) Includes bibliographical references and index. Inc. cm.
. without the express written consent of the publisher.—(Food culture around the world.48–1984). However. Westport. 88 Post Road West. Title. paper) 1. especially parents and teachers working with young people.com Printed in the United States of America
The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 The publisher has done its best to make sure the instructions and/or recipes in this book are correct. Cookery. Food habits—France. ISBN 0–313–32797–1 (alk. 2.
Major Foods and Ingredients 3. Cooking 4. Typical Meals 5. Special Occasions 7. Eating Out 6.Contents
Series Foreword Acknowledgments Introduction Timeline
1. Diet and Health
vii ix xi xiii 1 41 81 103 117 137 155 169 171 175 185
Glossary Resource Guide Selected Bibliography Index
. Historical Overview 2.
general readers. and foodies alike. with a chronology of food-related dates and narrative chapters entitled Introduction. Food provides the daily sustenance around which families and communities bond.Series Foreword
The appearance of the Food Culture around the World series marks a deﬁnitive stage in the maturation of Food Studies as a discipline to reach a wider audience of students. Each also includes a glossary. Typical Meals. each on the food culture of a country or region for which information is most in demand. Each volume follows a series format. and Diet and Health. There is perhaps no better way to understand a culture. Food preferences also serve to separate individuals
. In comprehensive interdisciplinary reference volumes. Special Occasions. It provides the material basis for rituals through which people celebrate the passage of life stages and their connection to divinity. a remarkable team of experts from around the world offers a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role of food in shaping human culture for a whole new generation. Major Foods and Ingredients. preoccupations. Cooking. Historical Overview. resource guide. and fears. Eating Out. and illustrations. its values. but how various peoples around the world learn to exploit their natural resources. come to esteem or shun speciﬁc foods. than by examining its attitudes toward food. I am honored to have been associated with this project as series editor. and develop unique cuisines reveals much more about what it is to be human. bibliography. Finding or growing food has of course been the major preoccupation of our species throughout history.
but also about ourselves and who we hope to be. understanding these food traditions helps us to understand the people themselves. By studying the foodways of people different from ourselves we also grow to understand and tolerate the rich diversity of practices around the world.viii
and groups from each other.
Ken Albala University of the Paciﬁc
. Whether it is eating New Year’s dumplings in China. and as one of the most powerful factors in the construction of identity. These books are thus not only about the food and culture of peoples around the world. In many cases these books describe ways of eating that have already begun to disappear or have been seriously transformed by modernity. whether from our own heritage or that of others. What seems strange or frightening among other people becomes perfectly rational when set in context. we wish to keep alive. As globalization proceeds apace in the twenty-ﬁrst century it is also more important than ever to preserve unique local and regional traditions. To know how and why these losses occur today also enables us to decide what traditions. It is my hope that readers will gain from these volumes not only an aesthetic appreciation for the glories of the many culinary traditions described. or going out to a famous Michelin-starred restaurant in France. but also ultimately a more profound respect for the peoples who devised them. folding tamales with friends in Mexico. emotionally and spiritually become what we eat. we physically.
and Wendi Schnaufer. Norman Stillman. convivial. and Carolin C. I am profoundly grateful for this hospitality and for these many personalized introductions to the food cultures of France. who read drafts of these chapters. In this time. Young shared with me their enthusiasm for French food and have steadfastly encouraged mine. made it possible for me to write this book. and precision to what must have seemed like endless questions about her family life. who nourished my interest in food from the very beginning. senior editor at the Press. wit. Thanks are due to the wonderfully supportive community of scholars interested in food history and in France. and it is for my parents. and thoughtful participants in the culture of their own country. many people have opened their doors to me and shared their meals and food lore. to research and write. Alison Matthews-David. Of all my debts. that to my cousin Charlotte Berger-Grenèche and to Franç ois Depoil is by far the greatest. I am grateful to Kyri Watson Claﬂin. Barbara Ketcham Wheaton. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson. Layla Roesler responded with grace. and Charles Walton. Beatrice Fink. their conversation and friendship. Through her good humor this book has been much enriched. Discerning eaters and accomplished cooks.
. This book is for them. I have been traveling regularly to France to live and work. Ken Albala. editor for the Greenwood Press world food culture series.Acknowledgments
For two decades and more. Charlotte and Franç ois more than anyone else have taught me what it means to eat à la française. generous hosts.
and Linguistics). and Christian Verdet. Arnold Matthews. I thank the undergraduate students who have taken my seminars on food and culture (Honors College) and on French food and ﬁlm (Program in Film and Video Studies) and the graduate students in my course on French gastronomic literature (Department of Modern Languages. Finally. My warm thanks especially to Hervé Depoil for doing le maxi. Nadine Leick. Janine Depoil. They have been generous beyond measure for the sake of friendship. Zev Trachtenberg. Their unfailing intellectual curiosity fueled my own enthusiasm for the topics covered in this volume. colleagues and students at the university where I have taught for the last seven years have supported my engagement in the study of food history and cultures. For their enthusiastic participation. Edward Sankowski. and frank questions. hard work. Many of the passages in this book were written with my students in mind. At the University of Oklahoma a special thank you goes to Paul Bell. Hervé Depoil. Andy Horton.
. food. and conversation across cultures. and their questions usually led us all directly to the heart of the matter. and of course to Sarah Tracy. Pamela Genova. Helga Madland. Literatures.x
For the photographs I am indebted to Philippe Bornier.
What interested eater would not be moved by French food? In poorer kitchens. glamorous restaurant meal is often a French one. or a fragrant piece of baguette still warm from the oven has perhaps been a gastronomic revelation. nourishing soups. and tantalizing sausages. and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Fisher’s memoirs.Introduction
Nearly every American has some idea about French food. a plate of silky foie gras. The export of Champagne and adaptations of the breakfast croissant have made these items standard units in the international food currency. and stimulating.K. the many French cookbooks published in the United States since the mid-twentieth century have guided experiments in the kitchen. a bite of milky crisp fresh almond. afﬂuence has reshaped the diet for much of the French population. a few clichés persist. the ideal for an elegant. Arm-chair travelers will have read the great American chronicles of life and food in France. Snails and frogs feature in the cuisine. For those who have traveled abroad. people are much
. however. Since the Second World War. Of course. M. as well. For curious home cooks. The subtle coherence of ﬂavors and the digniﬁed unfolding of the several-course meals that are now standard are at once seductive. generations of resourceful cooks have perfected ingenious yet practical ways of transforming the meanest bits of meat and aging root vegetables into rich stews. it is an error to imagine that these murky creatures play a large role in everyday eating. Nonetheless. For those who dine out. soothing.F. such as Samuel Chamberlain’s columns in the early issues of Gourmet magazine.
To understand the full signiﬁcance of the table customs. including workday meals. and changing views of wine. Why is it that the different dishes in an everyday meal are eaten successively in separate courses. The recipes that appear in the text correspond to a few of the typical dishes that come under discussion. when the country actually has the best-developed and most heavily used canteen system in Europe? Food Culture in France answers these questions and many others. trends in restaurant cooking.xii
more likely to shop for food at one of the many discount stores than at picturesque outdoor markets. the book also treats the issues of why and how foods are eaten. at noon. attitudes toward health. Bonne lecture (happy reading) and bon appétit!
. The bibliography at the end of the volume lists the references consulted for each chapter and includes a list of cookbooks. over time? How is it that the French cultivate pleasure rather than count calories. As the aim has been to provide a three-dimensional picture of food customs. does this population of productive. an attempt is made to provide both the historical information necessary to illuminate contemporary food culture and full descriptions of today’s practices. as a nation? Why. from meal to meal. although these are practically a national treasure. yet in fact enjoy an unusually high standard of health. rather than appearing on the table all at once? How is it possible to eat this succession of foods without becoming uncomfortably full. Throughout. the approach is inclusive. from cookbooks and personal experience. to the writings of historians and cultural critics. public policy addressing food quality. secular individualists march practically in lockstep to the dining room. celebration meals. causing nearly everything from Dunkerque to Cannes to grind to a halt for the sacred lunch break? Why do the French themselves regard eating lunch in school and business cafeterias as an anomaly. It is hoped that these resources as well as the selection of Web sites and ﬁlms will provide the reader with a point of departure for further exploration. and desperately unhealthy. That the French drink only rareﬁed bottled spring waters (when not drinking wine)is in fact one of the new myths. to recent studies by ethnologists and sociologists. So what do the 60 million French of today really eat on a daily basis? Here is the essential question that this book addresses. The chapters that follow draw on a wide range of sources. hard-working.
goats. Forests provide berries.C. Greek merchants from Phocaea establish a colony at Massilia (Marseille) where they plant olive trees for oil and grape vines for wine. Humans eat mollusks. and hazelnuts. Reindeer retreat to colder northern regions.C.000 B. Domesticates include sheep.E. 30.
10.E. Old Stone Age nomads hunt big game and gather plants for food. elements in the Mediterranean diet. and millet. corn. improving farm production.C. make hunting easier.000–9000 B.E. The bow and arrow.000–14. including snails. chestnuts.
ca. ca. Iron Age Celts ﬁt iron cutting edges on ploughs used to till soil. cattle.C. New Stone Age people farm and tend herds.C.E. Forest animals such as deer and wild boar multiply.
.E.C. and the companionship of domesticated dogs.C.
6000 B.000 B.E. Food sources change as glaciers recede. 600 B.
800 B. 16. barley. Charcoal and ochre drawings of bulls and reindeer in the Lascaux Caves in the Dordogne show main Ice Age food sources.E.
People clear forest and drain marshland to cultivate grains for bread. cinnamon. City and monastic trade fairs in the Champagne region are international. Languedoc). The feast for Charles the Bold of Burgundy’s wedding
19 B. forces Saracen warriors to retreat from the southern territories. cloves. Legend has it that he concealed his troops in wine barrels. cumin. one of Charlemagne’s paladins.
481–511 C.000 cubic meters (about 26. ginger. A Roman-style forum or market and public meeting space is added to each Gallic town. chronicler Gregory of Tours notes that people supplemented wheat ﬂour with pounded grape seeds and ferns. making true beer.xiv 51 B.C. Renaissance elites are conspicuous consumers.C. 1204
1315.000 cubic yards) of water to urban areas.E.
822 1000–1300 1110
Timeline Julius Caesar annexes Gallic lands to the Empire.E. mace and nutmeg. Knights and soldiers return from the First and Second Crusades bringing lemons and spices: saffron. In The History of the Franks (593–94). cardamom. Flemish and Italian merchants arrive with spices and other exotics. Saint William of Gellone. The population grows. The site becomes the market Les Halles. The abbot Adalhard of Corbie records that monks are adding hops ﬂowers to their ale. Louis VI (The Fat) allows ﬁshmongers to set up stands outside his palace walls in Paris. sheep (Ardennes). The Valois monarch Philip VI (1293–1350) introduces the grande gabelle (salt tax) in the north. Famine forces innovation in bread-making. Gallic regional specialties include grain (Beauce). geese (Artois). Cannibalism and crime follow widespread famines. and wine (Roussillon.E. and sugar. The Roman-engineered Pont-du-Gard aqueduct daily transports 20. 1317 1341 1468
. The Salic legal code issued in Paris under King Clovis speciﬁes punishments for anyone who attacks a neighbor’s grape vines.
invents the pressure cooker. 1. chocolate. but Louis XIV (1643–1715) uses his ﬁngers to eat. Physician and priest François Rabelais publishes the novel Gargantua.800 chickens. 2. Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus encounters foods hitherto unknown in the Old World: sweet potatoes. in residence in England.500 sheep. 1502
ca. 3. 63 pigs.500 calves. Within the decade the Café Procope. 2. he privileges herbs and onions over spices. Suleiman Aga. and vanilla. 1600
1667 1669 1672
. serves coffee at Versailles.
King Louis XI (1461–1483) decrees that butchers slaughter pigs and sell raw pork.” Hunger and poverty are widespread. Physicist Denys Papin.600 shoulders of mutton. François Pierre de La Varenne publishes the cookbook Le Cuisinier françois. Henri IV (1589–1610) declares his wish that “every peasant may have a chicken in the pot on Sundays. peppers. the ﬁrst successful café in France and still in business today. Peasant families who survived the bubonic plague and Hundred Years War and Wars of Religion clear land to plant new crops: cold-hardy buckwheat and New World maize. Coffee is sold at a temporary café at the St. 11. 18.Timeline
xv includes 200 oxen. maize.
1486 1492–1494.640 swans. but chaircutiers (charcutiers) sell cooked and cured pork and raw pork fat. For ﬂavoring. 2. will open in Paris. about a race of giants. Turkish ambassador to the court of Louis XIV. and 1. Massive feasts are central to the social satire. Germain fair.640 pigeons. Courtiers now use forks. Protestants ﬂee. The “digester” efﬁciently reduces solid foods nearly to liquid. Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes (1598). and the country reverts to strict observance of Catholic feast and fast days. 3.100 peacocks.000 pounds of lard. The manuscript Le Viandier by Guillaume de Tirel (Taillevent) appears in print as an early cookbook.668 wolves.
Louis XVI dies at the guillotine. Louis XVI sends troops against the newly formed National Assembly. he has been eating several-course meals while famine plagues France. They concede to his demands for the restored Bourbon monarch. the naturalist AntoineAuguste Parmentier promotes the still-unpopular potato as an alternative to grains. Louis XVIII. The National Assembly abolishes the hated and much-abused salt tax. Most people subsist on bread. Rioting abounds during the Revolution and hunger is prevalent. diplomat. which costs nearly 60 percent of their income. Nicolas Appert opens a vacuum-bottling factory. open in Paris. and a mob retorts by attacking the Bastille prison. bishop. Louis XV (1715–1774) favors small. At the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic wars. In prison since late January 1791. la gabelle. and noted gourmand CharlesMaurice de Talleyrand-Périgord wines and dines European ministers. The
1760s 1775 1785
. Modern-style restaurants. Famine and grain riots break out. vegetables. with menus and private tables. Two years later he modernizes the meal: he recommends serving dishes one by one in sequence. He preserves meats.” Pictures of apples and cider bottles in Normandy and ducks at Alençon visually connect taste to place. so that they can be enjoyed hot. intimate suppers over state banquets and personally makes omelets and coffee for selected guests. Cadet de Gassicourt publishes a “gastronomic map. Grimod de la Reynière publishes the ﬁrst narrative restaurant guide for Paris. and fruits to provision Napoleon’s troops. Peasants and urban dwellers riot to protest grain shortages. With the help of Louis XVI.xvi 1709 1735
Timeline An unusually cold winter sets in early and kills crops.
Prussian troops occupy the capital. Ferdinand Carré demonstrates his ammonia absorbtion unit.200 calories per day per person. Chef Auguste Escofﬁer publishes Le guide culinaire. Life expectancy drops by eight years.” France capitulates to Germany during the Second World War. The Orient Express makes its inaugural run from Paris to Constantinople. Louis Pasteur applies heat and pressure to sterilize milk. and Morocco (1912).
1861 1870 1870s 1883
. Meat prices escalate.
French forces take Algiers. Grape phylloxerae devastate vines across France. The law will stand until it is integrated into the European food safety code in 1993. rationing allows for 1. Tunisia (1881). Indochina (1859–1863). Under German occupation during the Vichy period. The black market for food ﬂourishes. and desperate Parisians resort to eating zoo animals. A new federal law prohibits fraud in the sale of food. The network of trains encourages peasants to farm beyond self-sufﬁciency and to specialize.Timeline
xvii great chef Marie-Antoine Carême is Talleyrand’s right-hand man for political strategy at table. The colonial empire will expand to include Senegal (1857). Parliament rules that only wine bottled within the demarcated Champagne area may be labeled as “Champagne. which simpliﬁes and systematizes the sauces and cooking methods that compose elegant cuisine. with several-course meals served in elegant restaurant cars. the technology that was the basis for the ﬁrst industrial refrigerators. Food prices are at a premium. Jules Méline draws up protectionist tariffs for agricultural production. Import duties on sugar make it unaffordable to most. Bread is rationed.
and the presence of immigrant cultures. Chef Paul Bocuse and baker Lionel Poilâne unsuccessfully lobby Pope John Paul II to remove gourmandise (gluttony) from the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. farmer José Bové vandalizes a partially constructed McDonald’s restaurant in Millau. The Tour d’Argent restaurant in Paris serves its onemillionth canard à presse (roasted pressed duck).xviii 1949
Timeline Bread rationing is lifted.” Robert Courtine’s pseudonym evokes Grimod de la Reynière. Avian ﬂu detected in chickens in Pas-de-Calais. vegetables. and favors lean meats. Chef Michel Guérard serves cuisine minceur—light or diet food—at his spa and restaurant. Press reports defend the national cuisine in a society marked by Europeanization. the First Empire restaurant guide author. Debate continues over whether genetically modiﬁed foods and advertising for fast food should be banned in France and Europe. globalization. Half of all French households own a refrigerator. All automatic vending machines are gone from public schools by the time the fall term begins. Consumption of chicken drops in March. He emphasizes small portions. and fruits. avoids salt and animal fats. The weekly newspaper Le Monde runs a column on dining called “The Pleasures of the Table” signed “La Reynière.
. The law (of August 2004) that called for this measure aimed to reduce the consumption of sweets and sugared drinks associated with rising obesity levels among children and young people. then rises again. To protest against junk food and the presence of foreign corporate interests in the local food chain.
roots. chickpeas. Paleolithic or Old Stone Age (earliest times to 6000 B. and lentils came under cultivation. These hunter-gatherers foraged in ﬁeld and forest for berries. at Lascaux.C. ﬁrst as wild grasses. and leaves.1
The earliest peoples in what is now France likely garnered the largest portion of their food from plants. Around 8000 B. Stone Age peoples domesticated dogs as hunting companions. They herded cattle.E. The innovations of agriculture and pottery that deﬁne the Neolithic period came west from the Fertile Crescent to Europe in about 6000 B. About 500. then as tended crops.) paintings on cave walls from about 35.E. nuts.000 B. people made a gradual transition from foraging for food to farming. Peas. During winter. People now cultivated emmer and einkorn (old types of wheat) and naked barley. they hunted horses and aurochs.E. Font-de-Gaume. When climate change caused the extinction of big game.C. sometimes grazing the herds seasonally in different locations. During the New Stone Age.C.E. Cosquer. Neolithic populations managed animals. nomadic forerunners of modern humans ranged north from Africa into western Europe.
.000 years ago. rye and oats ﬂourished. and Niaux show animal food sources and other creatures—lions. they stored extra grain in pits dug into the ground and in pots. Pigs. Chauvet. and goats were also kept and may have been moved according to the same practice of transhumance. mammoths—that probably had spiritual signiﬁcance. rhinoceros.000 to 15. In cooler northern regions.C. sheep. in addition to hunting.
smoking. and olives. this was the earliest introduction of the Mediterranean diet based on bread. During the Age of Metals. wine. Cheese featured frequently in meals. shared banquet in a private home drank wine mixed with water only after eating.E. hedgehog.2
Food Culture in France
Boar.C. and shellﬁsh were eaten. People made wide-mouthed vessels using bits of bone. the building blocks for most meals were barley or wheat and pulses. bringing their eating customs and essential foods. ﬂint.C. the Greeks had developed the civilization that underpins much of Western culture. Populations living on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and on rivers harvested shellﬁsh and ﬁsh. elite diners participating in a symposion or convivial.
GREEKS ON THE CÔTE D’AZUR
In about 600 B. bronze (about 1800–700 B. The invention of pottery changed cooking and storage in the New Stone Age. or grog (pulverized burnt clay) as a tempering medium. The additions strengthened the clay so that the pots could be placed directly on a ﬁre. pork). sand. The ideal diet of classical antiquity was based on three cultivated foods: wheat.). beaver.E. and the large domesticates were killed ceremonially. grapes. and oil. When the Phocaeans arrived in the new colonies with their vines and fruit. including cooking implements. but it was not considered everyday fare. drying. and then iron (from about 700 B. along with the all-purpose salty ﬂavoring sauce garos (Roman garum or liquamen) made of fermented ﬁsh. Fish. with little concern for cut or texture. The use of copper. Wealthy Greeks loved meat (beef. Pulses in the everyday diet
. For the common person. and valued conversation as an integral part of the meal. This added another technique to spit-roasting. and heating mixtures by dropping in hot rocks. The grains were eaten as porridge or baked into bread or unleavened biscuit if ovens were available. In the colonial centers of Greek civilization. lamb. a few Phocaeans (Greeks from Asia Minor) looking for new territory established colonies that they called Massilia (Marseille) and Agde. The end of the Neolithic period saw the incorporation of metals into the arsenal of tools. meat was carefully distributed or else sold off in portions equal in size.) mark shifts toward technology that maintained more populous civilizations. eels. shell. including literary and philosophical traditions and both urban and pastoral ways of life. hare.C.E. After the required sacriﬁces had been made to appease the gods. and quantities of snails added to the list of animal protein eaten in the Neolithic period.
grills. governance was decentralized within tribes headed by a warrior elite and the families that composed each tribe. and early forms of cauliﬂower and lettuce. It appears that they domesticated the hare and species of ducks and geese. Children know this story from the famous cartoons that Goscinny and Uderzo published beginning in the early 1960s about the rotund character Astérix the Gaul and friends. and capers. the Celts in Gaul probably numbered between 6 and 9 million. Many of the Celtic deities such as the matrons or mother-goddesses were associated with fertility and with ﬂowers. quinces. cauldrons. as well as grains. pears. Celtic civilization was based on farming and animal husbandry. and developed advanced metalworking techniques such as soldering and the use of rivets. Celts in northern Europe mined iron and lead. They did not construct a uniﬁed empire or kingdom. bowls. spits. At their most populous. To support farming. so did their institutions. including a benevolent druid.
Tribes of Indo-Europeans that originated in Hallstadt (present-day Austria) and swept west by around 700 B. gold and silver. and ale. chickpeas. and pomegranates were the bestknown fruits. apples.200 to 2. and grains. including ﬂagons. Tribes occupied swathes of land that measured about 1. they manufactured innovative iron ploughs. developed a diet based on meat. It is certainly true that
. They wrought a range of cooking and eating utensils. The Greeks called these peoples Galatai or Keltoi. harrows. and dogs were less common.000 square kilometers (about 450 to 750 square miles). horses. carrots. goats. Sheep. Figs and grapes. and fava or broad beans. the Romans would name them Gauls. gourds. The prehistoric Celts (their language was oral) have a special place in the collective imagination as the ancestors of the modern French.E. Greeks brought with them knowledge of the all-important vegetables onion. Celts ate meat primarily from domesticated oxen or cattle and pigs. and reapers. and serving platters.Historical Overview
included lentils. As the cities grew. cups. milk. There is a popular idea that Celts feasted constantly on roast wild boar. garlic. fruits. The land was left as open ﬁelds that members of the tribe worked in common. Rather. giving the name Celts. plums. The city of Paris derives its name from the Celtic Parisii tribe that settled in the Île-de-France.C. including places for eating out such as kapêleia or taverns that served wine and inexpensive bar food. which were made into salads and cooked dishes. They cultivated cabbages.
Since the inception of the republic in the ﬁfth century B. wine. for their part. meat products. For food. but they could not get enough of the heady southern wines that they traded up from Massilia and Rome. he won a decisive victory against the Gallic
. In 52 B. olive oil. Celts used wooden barrels for more convenient storage and transport.C. Bellicose Cisalpine (from “this side of the Alps. fat from meat and milk (lard. 200–230) that the Celts were heavy drinkers who tossed back their wine undiluted with water. and Celts hunted them in self-defense. and tools. Stored in amphorae. Butchers specialized in making hams and sausages and were greatly admired for their facility with curing pork. drying.4
Food Culture in France
wild boar roamed the forests.E.. meat.. butter). remarked in his Deipnosophistae (Professors at Dinner. the ﬁrst imperial dynasty was established in 27 B. Celts traded metal jewelry.C. They mined salt and developed techniques for preserving meat and ﬁsh through salting. drank milk from their herds. productive Celtic territories were a temptation not to be resisted by the Romans. The familiarity bred by commerce between the different populations also prepared the way for Rome’s annexation of Celtic lands to the Empire in 51 B. Where the Greeks and Romans kept wine in amphorae (clay jars). and made incursions elsewhere. but hunting was restricted to elites.C. Meats. as they periodically migrated in search of land. Syria. coins. Athenaeus.” nearest Rome) populations sacked Rome in 387 (or 390) B. the Greek writer from Naucratis (Egypt) who moved to Rome at the end of the ﬁrst century. ca. They cultivated some grapes in the north. Urban Romans were consumers in need of provisions. and smoking. The legions butted heads with the tribes for two centuries before the general Julius Caesar was sent to quell them. hides from their animals. and slaves with neighboring tribes and with other populations.E. and vegetables.
The fertile. ingots. subsuming far-off Dacia (Romania). Ties between the Celtic and the Mediterranean civilizations enlarged the diets.E. and brewed ale (beer without hops) from grain. wine drunk by the Celts must have developed some ﬂavors like those prized by today’s oenophiles. the tribes relied on their ﬁelds and barnyards.C.E.E. wine took on the pitchy or resinous ﬂavor of the jar seal. and cool-weather grains associated with the Celts typiﬁed the diet in what later became northern France.C. They made cheeses. Exposed to wooden barrels. Rome ballooned. and the constantly campaigning legions of the vast military machine required a solid diet of wheat bread. Celts. North Africa. amber and salt. and Arabia as provinces. provoked ravenous Rome. cheese.
For Gallo-Romans. Emmer. ﬁsh. dining habits at their most luxurious drew on Greek manners. Wealthy citizens designed their houses to follow the Roman style. and Arles are still used today for concerts. Propped up on their left elbows. Elegant diners reclined rather than sat. A cena (fancy dinner) ﬁnished with mensae secundae or fruits. gastronomic specialties from across the Empire. the Greek physician Galen. Using the old tribal divisions of land as a basis for latifundia or large farms with attached estates. The Romans did much to unify and urbanize Celtic lands. The Romans built roads for their military but also to the beneﬁt of traders. plays. Greek ways were considered the most elegant and civilized. wet) appropriate for one’s personal balance of the four bodily humors (blood. Rivers demarcated Gallia Belgica from Celtica (later Gallia Lugdunensis) and Aquitania. with a courtyard and triclinium or dining room. The gustatio or promulsis (ﬁrst course) featured vegetables. and the remains of public baths also persist. At least for the wealthiest eaters. Continuing Hippocratic tradition. Among the educated. and so a few people had knowledge of quite exotic foods. and bull-ﬁghting. They undertook huge public projects in durable stone for the cities. nuts. and the agricultural riches of Gaul itself. operas.Historical Overview
leader Vercingétorix. aqueducts (such as the Pont-du-Gard and those built to supply Vienne). Nîmes. cold. and eggs. and they sought vintages from the best locations across the
. and spelt were available in Gaul. black bile. they politely touched food only with the right hand. and the oppida or hill-forts for civitates or administrative structures. dry. Sophisticated wine drinkers tracked yearly variations in quality. City walls. which were supposed to be balanced through diet. the “three Gauls” or large divisions of Celtic territories had become provinces. trade enlarged the food choice provided by the local produce. phlegm) as the way to maintain good health. and desserts. they centralized political conduits. A year later. yellow bile. recommended choosing foods with qualities (hot. Beyond the Rhine lay Germania and to the south Provincia (later Narbonnensis) and Cisalpina. soft and hard wheats. Eating customs evolved from the Roman adaptations of Greek precedents. who worked in the Roman context during the second century. The mensae primae (main course or courses) offered meats and poultry and were accompanied by wine mixed with water. Roman trade provided links even to India and China. Amphitheatres at Orange. The colony at Massilia was a destination for Romans as for Romanized Celts—Gallo-Romans—who sought an education and cosmopolitan ﬁnish. with anywhere from two to seven courses. attitudes toward diet and health were shaped by the prevailing theory of the humors. The food at a convivium or dinner party could be elaborate. with the usual military outposts throughout.
and Gallo-Romans. hazelnuts. asparagus. and cows gave milk for cheese as well as meat. and scallops. partridges. rue. By about the ﬁfth century. Garum or ﬁsh sauce—made off the Atlantic coast from fermented mackerel and tuna—and allec or ﬁsh pickle were common. celery seed. and pheasant gave eggs and provided roasts. wrasse. dates. Gallic elites left the cities. mint. Celts. myrtle. The tribal leader Odoacer the Goth deposed the last Roman emperor in the
. The Roman army that defeated Attila the Hun in 451 near Troyes was anchored by tribal Germans—Franks. Among the herbs and spices. preparing the way for the development of French. mustard. and pine nuts (pine kernels) were eaten. Snails were popular. and famine added to the general unrest and misery. Other herbs included rosemary. and coriander. octopus. The list of fruits and nuts grew ever longer as produce was imported from afar. saffron. Visigoths. Figs. Germanic Visigoths crossed out of Italy and were settled in Gallic Aquitaine. the few remaining Breton speakers trace their culture back to the Celts. overextended Roman Empire crumbled during the fourth century. tuna. The Mediterranean gave ﬁsh and shellﬁsh including mackerel. Sorb apples (related to serviceberries). Guinea fowl (originally from Numidia). bass. Germanic tribes crossed west over the Rhine River to settle in Gaul. sour cherries. During the last imperial centuries. crushing taxes. and Burgundians. chestnuts. traded from India in exchange for gold. caraway. peaches (from Persia). bay. Spices were valued as ﬂavorings in elite cooking. walnuts. hens. contributing to urban decline. In the modern language. Latin penetrated even to rural areas. lovage nearly always combined with black or long pepper. there were leeks. cucumbers. arbutus fruits. and beets. mallow. grapes. the Romans encouraged British Celts to migrate back to the Continent to defend depopulated Brittany. juniper berries (native to Gaul). oysters from present-day Brittany and Normandy were esteemed a delicacy. sea urchin. plague. decadent emperors. apples. pennyroyal. Federations and alliances already existed among Germans. turnips. In the late third and fourth centuries. some were used in perfumes. cumin.or smoke-dried raisins were basics. and sun. pistachios. and wild boar and deer caught on the hunt were prized. thyme. the Celtic heritage echoes primarily in words that pertain to agriculture and in place names. goats. parsley. bringing a new wave of northern inﬂuence on diet. rocket. lettuces.
FRANKS FROM RHINELAND
As the exhausted. Domestic sheep. For vegetables. pears. Today. gourds.6
Food Culture in France
provinces. During the ﬁfth century.
using barley or oats to thicken the mixture. They took pride in Gallic particularities and in the classical heritage. Franks made hard cider from apples and grew rye. and made ale.
West in 476. They hunted game and ate domesticated meat. gathered berries and nuts from the forests. Although the Franks made periodic migrations. Romanized Gauls considered themselves elegant and civilized. Hardy spelt. like the Celts. some Germanic pagan rites required the conspicuous display of ale casks in the middle of dwellings. and the men also used butter to condition their characteristic long hair and ﬂowing beards. But it was the powerful Franks who exerted the most lasting inﬂuence within future French territory. the favored beverage. grew wheat and barley. although lower in yield and in gluten than wheat. They steadfastly preferred their own butter and lard over southern olive oil. Courtesy of Hervé Depoil. They roasted meat and made stews. as well as in their own discernment.Historical Overview
Shellﬁsh merchant bringing coastal oysters and mussels to the Saint Antoine market in Lyon. This is clear
. including poultry. Both Romans and Christians complained about the reek of rancid butter that was said to announce a German. in contrast to the Germans. was the preferred grain. they farmed and herded in the intervening years. which they thought gave them strength to wage war. They ﬁshed.
mystery religions involving the worship of a dying god (such as Isis or Mithras) who was then reborn became popular. The practice of self-denial and also self-deﬁnition through the refusal of habits perceived as typical characterized the early Christian approach to food. His treatise De observatione ciborum (On the Observance of Foods). acquired a powerful symbolic association to sacriﬁce in Christianity. In a time of unrest. 534). Christian ritual was overlaid on pagan celebrations of grain and the harvest.1 A century later. Romans characterized Germans as uncouth rustics and ﬁckle. though formidable. the physician and ambassador Anthimus balanced the classical heritage with the Germanic present. The meatless diet avoided sacriﬁcial carnage. addressed to the Frankish king Theuderic (d. Christianity penetrated ﬁrst in the southern parts of Gaul where the Germanic traditions held less sway. Yet Anthimus makes concessions to the intended reader and the available food supply. A variety of foods were eaten in courses. ﬁghters.2
In Gaul Christian food practices that evolved from Judaic and Mediterranean traditions had the distinguishing cast of asceticism. they found humane treatment at the hands of the barbarians. Ceremonial cups of wine were drunk throughout. local river salmon and trout are indicated. Of these. The rejection of meats. and he wrote an encomium to the wines and oysters of his native Bordeaux. Christianity had the greatest staying power. Meats and beer are recommended. like the recommendations for sexual abstinence. Bread and wine. Roman ﬁsh sauce is categorically forbidden. The moralist Salvian of Marseille. had no special liking for the Germans. Yet he observed that educated and well-born individuals around him were casting their lot with the Goths and Franks. instead of meat. Bread was preferred over meat. draws on the cookbook author Apicius for recipes and on Galen for medical advice. The disparaging comments should be taken with a grain of salt. His pastoral poem Mosella catalogues the edible ﬁsh in the tributary of the Rhine named in the title (the Moselle). it became the ofﬁcial religion of the Roman Empire. In the ﬁrst and second centuries. is an example of asceticism as well as a populist touch and concession to necessity. By the end of the fourth century under Theodosius. As part of the Catholic rite of communion. Early Eucharistic (thanksgiving) meals borrowed from Jewish Passover seders and Greco-Roman banquets. while noble Rome had turned uncivilized. Diners reclined.8
Food Culture in France
in the fourth-century writings of Decimus Agnus Ausonius. in particular of the lamb that Jews offered up in temples. whose writings date to about 440.
servings from two cooked dishes. later the thin unleavened wafer known as the host. Starting in the fourth century. He remained so through the early eighteenth century. early Christian tolerance. the Council of Agde that met in 506 forbade Christians from sharing a meal with “Jews and heretics. Monks and nuns earned a reputation as food experts. Clerics could not bear arms.
a piece of bread. Some won privileges for their monasteries to import luxury foods such as pepper. but they gave feasts to build up their reputations. Having productive kitchen gardens and well-stocked larders. monasteries participated in trade networks. To be sure. institutional pronouncements set ideals for GalloChristian food practice. indulgence featured in monastic feasting.” on pain of excommunication. mandated hospitality to guests and to any pilgrim as a basic tenet of monastic life. meals were to be taken twice daily in summer and once in winter. As the number of monasteries and nunneries increased and bishops consolidated power. father of monasticism in the West. was ingested along with a sip of wine. Bread and wine evoked the body and blood of Christ. avoiding actual bloodshed while fostering a penchant for the mystical. when the power of the Catholic Church in France began to decline. wine in limited quantity. If asceticism and fasting characterized early Christianity. In extreme cases. By miraculous transubstantiation. to consume him. In the early sixth century. To eat a meal was to commune with fellow Christians and with the Christian god. and Greek and Gallo-Roman conviviality. Despite the Christian principle of disdaining commerce. In deﬁance of Jewish principles of fellowship. saintly ﬁgures miraculously abstained from food for long periods. Eucharistic counterpart. Other days were added in rhythm with the natural seasons and older pagan holidays. fasting was required for the period before Easter (Lent). the bread and wine ostensibly turned into the body and blood of Christ. Gallic bishops ﬁnanced banquets to alleviate the hunger of the poor. In later centuries the stock ﬁgure of the gluttonous monk became a target for satirists. eating bread at daily meals recalled its blessed. fruits or vegetables in season. they could entertain elite visitors. The principles of inclusion and generosity were not always put into practice. cinnamon. the Rule of Benedict of Nursia (d. and foreign nuts. The virtuous fasted on Fridays. Benedict prescribed an acceptable diet for a monk as bread. Christians fasted for short periods while charitably giving alms and donating food. The communicant directly incorporated his god. but the ability to host a feast also signaled power. More commonly. 540). the rite of communion recast sacriﬁce on a supernatural level. Through symbolism. buying products imported through the Mediterranean ports. and to become him. Outside of church ceremony. ca.
and millet were the most common. and quite ill managed. The problem was how to deﬁne moderation according to Christian principles. Spices were available. wealth. no system of direct taxation was used. For the Christian. Charlemagne waged war to enlarge his dominions across Europe. Pulses complemented the grain. The Christian was burdened with original sin. linked merchants to monasteries and the king. and St. as in ancient times and up through the Revolution of 1789.10
Food Culture in France
Feasting and fasting traditions—extreme eating—reﬂect the natural alternation of cycles of plenty and shortage. Unlike in the Roman era. Benoît de Cessieu brought in revenue. Cormery. Tournus. Monastic fairs at Paris. the ﬂesh was impure. They also reveal contradictions inherent to the Gallo-Christian cult of late antiquity. most people relied on grains for food. Beer and wine were
. Langres. made annual gifts to the emperor. personal. The social hierarchy based on landholding. tied to the seasons and the harvest cycle. and the diet included imports such as lemons and dates. wheat. for instance. and rank would underpin the feudal castes of the next centuries. In the Carolingian era. Exotic products show the reach of the trade networks. Flavigny. 768–814). and encouraged international trade. Nobles. Near the Rhine valley. Maixent. Frankish Paris. Sophisticated systems of exchange also ﬂourished in the marketplace. giving rise to the new dynasty of Carolingians. How can the duties of the host to be generous reconcile with the obligation of the penitent to live sparingly?
After the Roman period. set himself up as protector of the Church and of the faithful. St. The Frankish kingships were military. At length. a powerful palace mayor (administrator) to the king overthrew his employer. The acquisition of land cemented power for titled individuals such as counts and dukes. Barley. The Frankish liturgy included the ceremonial use of chrism (balsam or balm mixed with oil). like the Saxons and other peoples conquered in war. Greeks and Romans explained the need for moderation at table through principles of health. the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish tribal leaders converted to Christianity and shifted the capital from Romanized Lyon to northern. Charlemagne made donations to the Church. Carolingian documents describing the abbey at St. oats and rye became important. who then exacted tributes from the peasants working their terrain. the most inﬂuential of whom was Charlemagne (r. and was crowned Emperor on Christmas day in the year 800 by Pope Leo III in Rome. Gall (in present-day Switzerland) indicate a richly provisioned establishment.
After the Serment de Strasbourg or Strasbourg Oath of 842. It is thanks to Carolingian monastic scribes that many ancient texts are known today. Saint Sadalberga (ca. The Capetian kings (r. artichokes. butchers. fava beans. Frankish tastes color provisionary miracles of the Merovingian and Carolingian eras. A warrior class of chevaliers or knights who were supposed to aid the lords and monarch fought their way into that class to obtain their own hereditary titles and landowning rights. so children also drank diluted alcohols. such as cucumbers. cabbages. Carolingian territories were divided into three parts.Historical Overview
the beverages of choice. 605–670). Famine was common. mustard. 987–1322) expanded their Parisian stronghold to include the counties of Flanders and Boulogne. and mustard to work carefully in a clean environment. millers. peasants would work land and trades in exchange for protection given by the landowner. bakers. In the ninth and tenth centuries. or decrees regarding the imperial domains. chickpeas. lettuce. The plants and foods listed in the capitularies were familiar from antiquity. fourth century). West Francia covered much of the territory of contemporary France. spontaneous generation was said to have produced loaves. but this measure did not hold market rates steady. In the feudal era. Encouraging agriculture and food production was part of the effort to renew the achievements of imperial Rome within the contemporary Christian empire. The capitularies listed plants that Charlemagne wanted to be cultivated throughout the empire. taken during the ninth century. beets. and makers of garum. cervoise (ale). ﬁsh. Charlemagne ﬁxed prices for bread. Hoarding and speculation on grain and wine aggravated shortages. and various herbs. born near Langres. or holy oil. In earlier centuries. Charlemagne himself was said to have been a careful eater and a moderate drinker. ca. turnips. According to the vita or life written in the ninth century. radishes. Normans or Norsemen (“northern” or Scandinavian
. Dynastic competitions were keen in the Middle Ages. Difﬁcult conditions fostered tales about the supernatural provision of food and drink. hydromel (fermented honey drink). His Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii. sought to remedy shortages by improving agriculture.5 The narrative left by his biographer Einhard shows the effort to negotiate customs from Frankish warrior feasts (involving meat from hunted game and plenty of alcohol) with both classical moderation and Christian asceticism. Water was not dependably safe.4 He exhorted cooks. rocket. communion wine. miraculously ﬁlled a vat with beer just in time for the visit of the abbot who assisted her to found a monastery. including the oldest surviving copies of Apicius’s cookbook De re coquinaria (On Cookery.3 Attempting to counter hunger. cheese.
Improved food production supported a larger population. the link between Christian succor and wine is recalled by events such as the wine auction held every November at the Hôtel-Dieu or historic hospice in the town of Beaune in Burgundy. Three-crop rotations. but it was originally conceived to beneﬁt the charity hospital. with winter and spring plantings next to a fallow ﬁeld that was sometimes grazed (and thus manured).12
Food Culture in France
warriors and sailors) descended in boats to plunder and scout for land. During the Middle Ages. the population tripled to about 20 million.
. however. From the start to the end of the Capetian dynasty.
GRAIN AND SWORDS
The agricultural and population expansion that lasted about 300 years until the mid-thirteenth century owed much to the absence of the military class.” Armed knights were apt to skirmish over small slights. people imagined “France” as a place and an idea. the abbot Suger of St. They settled in the northwest (today’s Normandy). With the knights conveniently gone on crusade. priests. After Pope Urban II’s call in 1095 from Clermont-Ferrand to take Jerusalem from the Turks. Writing about the Capetians. authorized by Pope Eugenius IV in 1441 and staffed by nuns. improved use of the soil. Christian warriors left in droves to crusade against the Muslim “inﬁdel.” The Old French epic Chanson de Roland (Song of Roland) looks back in time to recount a battle against Moors in Spain that was fought during the era of Charlemagne. wine became the symbol of Christian France. 1100). The contemporary language of the written version (ca. The auction is now commercial. peasants reclaimed land through cutting forests and draining marshes. Grain farming increased to newly opened ﬁelds in the north and east. monks grew grapes and produced wine for medicinal use and to offer to travelers and pilgrims whom the laws of hospitality obliged them to host. Denis forsook the customary phrase “king of the Franks” for the new description “king of France. the counts of Provence defended their territory. Heavy workhorses bred from Carolingian cavalry animals—the knights’ battle chargers— pulled plows faster than the old-fashioned teams of oxen. then merged with Aquitaine and Britain to form the powerful Anglo-Norman or Angevin empire. refers to the homeland as la douce France (sweet France). invaded Britain. In the south. During the era of the crusades. and the more peaceable nobles. posing a constant threat to peasants. New wheeled plows were more versatile and efﬁcient. Today. so productive at home. From its association with pagan Rome and the god Bacchus.
the society was now in bad shape. Once Franç ois I granted the privilege of manufacture to vinegar makers. Around 1550. During the Angevin period (ca. In the South and on Corsica. Peasants drank hard apple cider in the northwest.Historical Overview
There was literally little spice in the gustatory life of the peasant. especially pork. Until 1537. Cheese was a staple in the Auvergne. as well as fresh ﬁsh. The ill. which killed 8 million people. Meat-eating declined among the peasants. Peas. dark bread was made of wheat supplemented with other grains. beans. made their way across the country from ships that docked at the western ports of Dieppe. Wine was grown as far north as the Paris basin—there were vineyards at Montmartre and Belleville. Voluntary distribution of food was often associated with collective settings such as hospices and hospitals. Inexpensive piquette (wine made from the second pressing of the fruit) was available in much of the country. high prices. Nutritious oats were widely grown. In Brittany blé noir or sarrasin (buckwheat) mixed with water or milk was used to make gruel. generally found in wealthy homes. In rural areas and among the poor everywhere. Stockﬁsch or salted dried cod. the climate changed. During the little ice age that lasted through the next three centuries. and hunger. food shortages. the market for brandies and fortiﬁed wines quickly expanded. Charitable institutions and paying establishments alike existed to provide venues for meals. White wheat bread was rare. 1150 to 1450). was not uncommon among peasants. cervoise or beer in the northeast. although primarily to feed horses. the distillation of wine was the province of apothecaries. cheap staple that could be eaten during the lean days of Lent. For most. Honﬂeur. when meat was forbidden. and Nantes. Le Havre. the best wines from Gascony and Bordeaux were exported to British cellars. and chickpeas supplemented the grains and gave more protein. Eating meat. and destitute received assistance in the form of meals of soup
. poaching was punishable by execution. sometimes grinding the nuts into a ﬂour. elderly. people ate chestnuts. diet and living conditions did improve until about the mid-sixteenth century. For survivors of the plague and wars. who used the resulting brandy as a medicine. Cod ﬁshing in North Atlantic waters provided a new. although hunting game in forests remained restricted to the aristocracy. The feudal era had been relatively prosperous. the basic foodstuffs were interminable bowls of gruel and bread made from wheat or maslin (wheat mixed with rye and barley). As a result of the ravages of the Hundred Years War (1337–1453) fought against England and the Black Death or bubonic plague (1348–1349). Staples varied by region and according to local taste. harsh winters regularly led to inadequate grain harvests.
Food Culture in France
and bread. Honored guests sat above the salt close to the head of the table. For important occasions such as weddings. at busy intersections in town. The spectacular service prevented diners from having to bring knives and slice their own portions from the roast. one also drank wine or beer at a cabaret (Picardy). where the local regulars often gave travelers and newcomers a hard time. pantners looked after the bread. and much later the pensions (boarding houses) typical in the nineteenth century served meals usually at ﬁxed hours and almost invariably at a communal table. prisoners of war. and the table was set with a nef or ship-shaped container to hold the salt. minimally bread and cheese or a piece of cold meat pie. journeymen. hosting them for up to three days. His nickname refers to wind cutting through sails and presumably evokes his swiftness and efﬁcacy in
. Usually the taverns and other watering holes made some sort of food available.
MANUSCRIPT TO COOKBOOK
The earliest French-language works on cooking reﬂect practice in distinguished settings. interested in ostentation as well as the distribution of largesse. estaminet (northern France and the Burgundian territory that is today Belgium). or a débit de vin (“wine dispensary:” sixteenth century and later). According to region and century. Myriad attendants performed separate ofﬁces. and itinerant merchants. Nobles feasted in the great halls of their castles. Food was placed on sliced bread trenchers. Le Viandier (The Provisioner) attributed to Guillaume de Tirel (1315–1395). The duties of lords to distribute food and wine stemmed from Christian notions of hospitality and also the old feudal obligations to vassals or dependents. drew on the author’s experience as maistre queux du roy de France or master cook to the king of France. and close to marketplaces that drew a crowd. Recipes and indications for service followed the international style of the late medieval and early Renaissance courts throughout western Europe. monasteries. Convents. Paying hôtels or hôtelleries (hostels. Tirel was known as Taillevent. as in earlier times. Carvers neatly dismembered whole roasted animals carried in on immense platters. hostelries) maintained by municipal authorities sheltered travelers. Each course of a meal had several dishes. elites rented out a hôtel and the services of a cook and his helpers. Inns and the tavernes that served wine set up strategically near city gates. which might rest on metal underplates. and generous lords allocated food and wine to pilgrims. The nobility were conspicuous consumers. The hostels. One of the earliest recipe manuscripts. judges. inns. for a catered meal. sauciers attended to the garnishes.
He gives menus for feast and fast days. His cookbook has a coherent organization that reﬂects the relationship of the recipes to the part they play in a grand meal. and cold and hot sauces. Johann Gutenberg pioneered use of the printing press with movable type in Mainz. food for the sick. if also wealthy. imported from the Middle East and Sicily. Le Mesnagier de Paris (The Parisian Household Guide. meat broths and stews. milieu. roasts and roast fowl. Chapters on the obligations of a virtuous wife. evokes a different. who had to learn to run the ménage (household). Another early manuscript. Other intriguing features of medieval recipes include elaborate substitutions and gastronomic trickery. and the cooking method: boiled meats. is still current for many manuals.”6
. ginger. not for service in a château (castle). moral theology. After all. long pepper. 1393). This logic. A typical list includes cloves. as in the recipe for “imitating a bear [or stag] steak with a piece of beef. was used as a spice. The spice mixtures reﬂect the Roman heritage. the use of the dish for further cooking or service. cinnamon. Notably. Many recipes demand a heavy-handed application of spices. including supervising the kitchen. and economics accompany those on meals. To serve or consume them was to demonstrate wealth and prestige. Le Mesnagier is thoroughly didactic. and how much money she should spend for each item. ﬁsh (including whale. In 1450. although there is some adjustment in the direction of modesty. fancy entremets (meat or grain dishes served between the ﬁrst and second courses). the author wrote for his own ménage. sweet ﬂavors combined with salty tastes in the same dish. meatless stews and soups (for fast days). The author describes how to dress game taken on the hunt and indicates when the various garden vegetables should be planted seasonally. Expensive foreign spices were status symbols. Taillevent’s résumé was superb: he cooked for the Valois king Philip VI and for Charles V and served as head of provisions for Charles VI. ca. grains of paradise (Malagueta pepper). and the irreplaceable black pepper. Recipes are organized according to the type of main ingredient. They also indicate the circumstances of the eaters. The author was a well-heeled bourgeois who wrote the instructional booklet for his teenage bride. in one version of the manuscript) and shellﬁsh. and even tells his wife where she should go shopping for ingredients and utensils in Paris. as cane sugar. in which the cookbook mirrors the meal in its organization and progress through time. Many of his recipes borrow directly from Taillevent’s Viandier.Historical Overview
the kitchen. and printing came to France shortly thereafter (1470). Late medieval recipes hold surprises for the modern French palate. The popular Viandier enjoyed numerous print editions through the seventeenth century.
Risks accompanied eating out. smiths. and of tripe and offal. of geese. The oublie (a wafﬂe decorated with religious symbols) recalled the oblation (sacriﬁce. from an ambulatory vendor with his cart. An unscrupulous wine merchant might push ignoble plonk as a good vintage from one of the better wine towns. but one had to purchase one’s repast piecemeal. milk. and bowls of gruel were available. and self-sufﬁciency declined. To stretch proﬁts. vinegared herring. In principle. onions à longue haleine (having a lasting effect on the breath). a similar unleavened egg and butter cake called a fouace was the province of the fouacier. deﬁned by corporate rules and royal statutes revised periodically until the attempt was made to suppress the trade guilds in 1776. In urban settings. cooked and cured pork from a chaircuitier saulcissier. The collectivities regulated entry into each trade and defended practitioners’ interests. pigeons.16
Food Culture in France
MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE STREET FOOD
Taking food and meals outside of the home had a strong association to the urban centers. industry and trade prospered. the poet Guillaume de Villeneuve’s Crieries de Paris (Parisian Vendors’ Calls) adds that pears.
. the oubloyer’s portable oven was sometimes called a fournaise à pardon (“absolution furnace”). The gaufrier specialized in wafﬂes. by extension the symbolic offering of bread and wine in the Catholic liturgy). During the fourteenth and ﬁfteenth centuries cities grew rapidly. each vendor had to stick to his specialty. tavern keepers were known to sophistiquer (adulterate) their wine. People purchased these street foods at the exterior counter of a boutique. and town criers joined with colleagues to form guilds (communautés de métier. or from a merchant stationed at an échoppe (booth or shop). where walking down the street revealed a wealth of edibles. and bureaucracy displaced tribal and familial relationships. later called corporations). shoemakers. and fowl. had to responsibly discard or burn any meat older than two or three days and meat that smelled off. for instance. Later in the same century. Meat sellers. Stationed at the entry to churches on feast days. specialists such as bakers. Roasted meats came from a rôtisseur. including in the street. of meat or ﬁsh pasties and cheese and egg pies. butchers. Types of street food multiplied over the centuries as sellers increased in number. Concerned municipal authorities did pass ordinances to regulate sales. But the customer had to be on the alert. of leftovers from the grand houses. raising the price accordingly. they were deﬁnitively dissolved in 1791. Beginning in the twelfth century. The tantalizing list of food specialists for Paris in Étienne Boileau’s Livre des métiers (Book of Trades) of 1268 mentions sellers of bread. giving a taste of independence to master workers if not their apprentices.
Commissioned by the Spanish monarchs. and Henri IV began sending Jesuit missionaries to North America shortly thereafter. In 1537. turkey (in French dinde abbreviates coq d’Inde or “Indian chicken”). Asia) to make it cheaper to import pepper and other spices. who also encountered pineapple. including the Jerusalem artichoke and wild rice. Bonnefons called the Jerusalem artichoke a pomme de terre (“earth apple”. As with many new foods. These New World foods came to France as a result of European voyages made beginning in the late ﬁfteenth century. Another writer referred to it as a poire de terre (“earth pear”). as well as the famous corsaires or pirates who raided Spanish and Portuguese ships. cranberries. Perhaps the name topinambour stuck for the Jerusalem artichoke because it so intriguingly evokes exotic origins. made it to the Far East. Christopher Columbus ﬁrst set out in 1492 to ﬁnd a fast water route to “the Indies” (that is. and strawberries. Neither Columbus. The French state came late to ambitious maritime exploration. this would become the word for potato). Champlain returned with the topinambour or Jerusalem artichoke (or sunchoke). they returned with marvelous foods: tomatoes.Historical Overview
NEW WORLD FOODS
Cornerstones of modern cooking such as potatoes and tomatoes are relatively recent additions to the French pantry. bell peppers. seedy Old World fraises des bois or wild woodland strawberries). which is appreciated today. chocolate. Samuel de Champlain ﬁnally founded a successful colony at Québec in 1608. From Canada. Muscovy duck. and pumpkin returned with European voyagers. guava. Rather. Nicolas de Bonnefons was the valet to Louis XIV whose books Le Jardinier françois (The French Gardener. and Spain wanted its own supply of this expensive commodity. The knobby tuber has a ﬁrm texture and a sweet taste reminiscent of artichokes. there was initially some confusion as to how to name it. blueberries. who reached Mexico in 1519. Bumping instead into the Americas. and new varieties of beans. Belated French voyages to the New World brought further culinary discoveries. 1651) and Les Delices de la campagne (The Delights of the Countryside. private funds sponsored the earliest trading and colonizing voyages. and the
. By this time. vanilla. 1654) laid out instructions for gardening and then cooking from one’s own harvest. nor Hernando Cortès. papaya. potatoes arrived in Europe in the 1570s. The voyagers to North America also found Virginia strawberries (larger than the tiny. Portugal had cornered the market on black pepper. corn (maize). Spanish soldiers found “ﬂoury roots” in a mountain village in Peru7. Topinamboux is the French name of a native Brazilian tribe (the Tupi). the Florentine Amerigo Vespucci.
Food Culture in France
aquatic grass known as wild rice, which the Ojibwa taught the French to harvest from canoes and to cure. Many of the New World foods were incorporated only gradually into the diet. Hot chili peppers in the Capsicum family never took hold at all; spicy ﬂavors are still disliked today. Other foods came through Spain and went to Italy before ending up in France, where cultural obstacles prevented their quick adoption. Today, it is difﬁcult to imagine cooking without tomatoes; however, it took two centuries before the tomato was incorporated into the diet. A member of the deadly nightshade family, it was thought poisonous. The potato, from the same family of Solonacae, was also viewed with suspicion. Of course, the voyagers attested to its edibility. A few others quickly recognized that the potato would be useful against grain shortages, and ﬁelds were planted in Alsace and Lorraine, in the Auvergne, and in the Lyon area. Because of the importance of bread and the periodic famines resulting from lack of grain, potato fanciers experimented with using potato ﬂour or mashed potatoes to replace wheat in leavened loaves; however, the potato had a bad reputation. It was accused of causing leprosy and was thought of as food ﬁt only for the poor. By the eighteenth century, the old excuse was taken up that spuds were ﬂatulent. Finally, potatoes were distributed to members of an agricultural society, and the naturalist Auguste Parmentier (1737–1813), with the support of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, promoted them tirelessly. Parmentier’s great coup was to plant potatoes in a ﬁeld belonging to Louis XVI that was heavily guarded during the day. When the guards retired for the evening, temptation lured the local population in to poach whatever was so very valuable in the king’s ﬁelds. By the nineteenth century, people had begun to rely on potatoes as a staple. Turkey was accepted relatively quickly. By the eighteenth century, it often replaced goose as a festive roast. Today, turkey is popular for the winter holidays, and, as a pale-ﬂeshed meat, it often replaces veal. In the seventeenth century, southern French peasants began to grow corn to eat as millasse (porridge like Italian polenta) or as corncakes or pancakes, selling the more proﬁtable wheat that they grew. Elsewhere corn was primarily grown as animal fodder and to enrich soil depleted from other crops. It is hardly eaten today; most people still think of corn as food for animals.
Late seventeenth-century cookbooks emphasized tastes and codiﬁed procedures that persist today. In the 1660s, the satirist Nicolas Boileau poked fun at vulgar types who scour far-off Goa for pepper and ginger and whose idea of reﬁnement consists of too much pepper mixed up in the sauce.8
Spices, which had become relatively inexpensive, were out of style in aristocratic contexts. Instead of disguising ﬂavors of the principal ingredients with baroque ﬂourishes, some clarity and sense of proportion were now sought. Even humble vegetables were required to taste a bit more of themselves. Cooks working for elite diners turned to the kitchen garden for the ﬂavoring palette. Cookbooks from this period, such as François Pierre de La Varenne’s Le Cuisinier françois (The French Cook, 1651), Pierre de Lune’s Le Cuisinier (The Cook, 1656), and L.S.R.’s Art de bien traiter (Art of Entertaining Well, 1674), show that cooks did use spices such as cloves. They certainly retained salt and pepper, although, often enough, only un peu (a little bit) in the case of pepper. A remarkable feature of these cookbooks is the use of plants to provide seasoning. Fresh herbs, onions, and garlic appear repeatedly in the recipes. Pierre de Lune explained how to use an herbal paquet (packet) that could be dropped into cooking liquids to give them ﬂavor. The little bundle included thyme, chervil, and parsley and was tied up with a piece of string; the optional strip of lard (fat bacon) was taken out for jours maigres (lean days). Pierre de Lune’s paquet is the ancestor of the modern bouquet garni. Increasingly, salty ﬂavors were separated from sweet, and sweets relegated to the end of the meal. A harmonious balance of ﬂavors and the enhancement, rather than disguise, of the main ingredients were desired.
Fresh parsley, scallions, shallots, and garlic are essential ingredients and ﬂavorings in French cuisine. Courtesy of Hervé Depoil.
Food Culture in France
The late seventeenth-century cookbooks reﬂect the preference for order. The Classical-era manuals allude to the sequences of procedures that are necessary for complex cooking. The cook must keep on hand an all-purpose meat stock pour la nourriture (“for the alimentation”) of other dishes such as sauces and to moisten meats. He must make roux (ﬂour cooked in butter) as a thickener, and he must use butter and fewer breadcrumbs as liaisons or binders. To complete the time-consuming preparations—mashing, grating, peeling, chopping, slicing, scaling, soaking, blanching, boiling, reducing, barding, mixing, kneading, whipping, stirring, sieving, clarifying—on the large scale required to cook grand meals, an army of kitchen help must assist the head chef. These preparations had to be carried out before a dish could be ﬁnished. Today, chefs spend hours in the kitchen completing their mise en place (“putting into place” or preparation, i.e., chopping parsley, peeling vegetables, and so on) before actually beginning to cook. The Classical cookbooks laid the foundation for the lush cooking that went on in wealthy houses during the eighteenth century. The recipes and procedures also underpin haute cuisine, the reﬁned, complex style of cooking that chefs practiced in restaurants and hotels in the nineteenth century. The contemporary descendent of aristocratic banquet cuisine is today’s cuisine gastronomique, such as in the Michelin-starred restaurants. Despite the advances toward modern taste in Classical cooking, aristocratic banquet meals retained the ostentatious service à la française (French-style service) typical of the Renaissance. Each course consisted of a profusion of different dishes laid out in a perfectly symmetrical geometry on the table. One was obliged to take from whatever serving plate was near at hand. The ceremonial court meal served à la française reached its apogee in the dining rooms of Louis XIV (r. 1661–1715). The Sun King’s reign had begun with an unfortunate slight delivered by means of dinner. With money skimmed off from the state’s tax income, Nicolas Fouquet, the superintendent of ﬁnances, built himself an estate and gardens at Vaux-le-Vicomte, then began to entertain in a style that ﬁt his grand circumstances. In the summer of 1661, he staged two full days of festivities, including a parade of costumed allegorical ﬁgures who served supper and a massive edible monument of sugar confectionary, shiny preserved fruits, and ices, to honor Louis XIV. The mastermind behind the ill-fated but gorgeous banquet at Vaux was the maître d’hôtel or executive chef Franç ois Vatel. The king grew disgusted at Fouquet’s opulence, arranged for his minister’s arrest, and was never again outdone in the area of magniﬁcent entertaining.
Under the reign of Louis XIV, France subdued Spanish and Austrian rivals in Europe and set the standard for cultural brilliance across the Continent. Louis XIV ordered gardens and a brilliant hall of mirrors to be built at his château at Versailles. There he surrounded himself with his aristocratic entourage. The scheme was astute. The king made sure that people danced attendance upon him even when he arose from bed in the morning. For a noble, to risk an absence from a feast or the king’s intimate but ceremonial morning lever was to incur his displeasure and risk banishment to the yawning provinces. By holding political rivals in pleasing captivity at Versailles, Louis XIV prevented interference with his own monopoly on power. Protocol for serving and eating, like nearly every other aspect of court life, was designed to reﬂect and increase the greatness of the monarch. The king was the only man allowed to eat bareheaded. His food was marched in from the far-away kitchens by a long procession of guards, servants, and tasters. Although the use of the fork was ﬁrmly established by now among members of the aristocratic classes, Louis XIV was the only person at the table who did not bother with one, preferring to eat with his hands. Unsuccessful attempts had been made to recruit Vatel into service at Versailles; however, Vatel did stage one more dinner for the king. In 1669, now working for the Prince de Condé—long a rival to the king and suspected of a conspiracy against him—at the Château de Chantilly, Vatel staged an entertainment and weekend of feasting designed to restore his master to the good graces of the king. So great was the pressure of the occasion that the ingenious Vatel panicked when the delivery of ﬁsh failed to arrive, and he committed suicide. The epistolary chronicler Madame de Sévigné was not even there, but she habitually gathered all the gossip, and her account of Vatel’s death is practically the only credible information that survives. Madame de Sévigné wrote to her daughter that the ﬁsh wagons ﬁnally arrived, and the meal was a great success, at least for the Prince. Clearly, food and table manners were weighty matters during the Classical era. The table was a stage on which dramas of power were enacted every day. This is quite clear in the sly comedies of the playwright Molière, responsible for many of the evening entertainments at Versailles, just as he had been for the play presented by Fouquet at Vaux in 1661. In Tartuffe, ou l’Imposteur (Tartuffe, or The Imposter, 1669), for instance, the dynamics of the meal reveal the moral and psychological conﬂicts. A wealthy, gullible bourgeois has taken a devout individual into his household, but the soulful friend turns out to be a destructive parasite and ﬁrst-rate hypocrite. Tartuffe literally eats his host out of house and home, attempts to
During the eighteenth century.22
Food Culture in France
seduce his virtuous wife. such as Tartuffe’s show of devout Catholicism (shared with Louis XIV). the title of Massialot’s Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois (Royal and Bourgeois Cook. Cookbooks and other documents pertaining to meals reveal the strong sense of social hierarchy that prevailed at the height of the ancien régime. Menon’s anonymously published Cuisinière bourgeoise (The [Female] Bourgeois Cook.
COFFEE. the mistress of the house grows sick and faint and cannot eat. and nearly swindles him of everything he owns. TEA. The shared meal turns into a perverse. showing the social order gone wrong. 1662) borrowed not only recipes from cookbooks but also information from the tradition of treatises dating to the Renaissance on topics such as carving and serving. AND SUGAR
During the seventeenth century. the many illustrated cookbooks that are designed to appeal to the broad swathe of the middle classes combine the visual appeal of the art or photography book and the personal tone of the memoir with the practical methods in the recipes themselves. to those with the highest social standing. chocolate. Regional cookbooks appeared in the nineteenth century and encyclopedic yet accessible references both to grand cooking and to home cooking in the twentieth. that the person cooking in any but the very wealthiest households was usually a woman. Visible conformity to rank and acceptable social mores. Menon’s cookbook was a best-seller and the only ancien régime cookbook to be reissued immediately after the Revolution of 1789. and sugar became fashionable among elites. The anonymous compiler of the École parfaite included diagrams that show the steps for cutting up roast meats and whole cooked ﬁsh and fowl in order to serve them. tea. The anthology called L’École parfaite des ofﬁciers de bouche (The Finishing School for Cooks. was the order of the day. they would be commonplace. Today. 1691) responded to the incipient social changes that brought cookbooks aimed for use in nonaristocratic households. a century later. vampiric anti-communion. As gluttonous Tartuffe grows fat on bread and wine that are not his own. Mexican chocolate (drunk as a beverage) was adopted at the Spanish court and then in the Spanish Netherlands before coming to
. Published at the very end of the seventeenth century. The introduction and the written instructions that accompany the pictures remind the carver that he should serve the best morsels. 1746) even acknowledged. coffee. appropriately sauced and garnished. CHOCOLATE. by its title. The lesser pieces were doled out to the less distinguished guests.
Sugar was so expensive that only small quantities returned to Europe. In eighteenth-century France. During the Middle Ages. As all three beverages were thought to be overly strong and bitter.Historical Overview
France. Separately. then via the Mediterranean port cities to southern Europe. but generally it was seen as a sobering. Europeans added cane sugar to sweeten them. sugar was rare to unknown in peasant households. As early as the late sixteenth century. then British and French ones in the Caribbean. for which Napoleon named him chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. Columbus brought cane to Santo Domingo. Portuguese and Spanish colonial plantations staffed by slaves in the Atlantic. Britain blocked French ships from landing in the western ports. In this era the sugar industry depended on the slave trade for labor. From the thirteenth century. sculptures made of spun sugar and marzipan (ground almonds mixed with sugar). especially coffee. intellectually stimulating drink. Coffee made its way from Ethiopia and Yemen. an Ottoman ambassador on diplomatic mission from Constantinople also introduced coffee to the court of Louis XIV at Versailles. When Napoleon boycotted trade with Britain in the early nineteenth century. wine. France became a major producer of sugar. but the supply to France increased substantially after Henri IV chartered the French East India Company in 1604. In antiquity cane sugar had been a curiosity known to come from India. and amateur botanist Benjamin Delessert developed a dependable reﬁning process. France soon
. France’s colonial sugar could not reach the country. in 1669. through the Arab world to Turkey. The Dutch East India Company brought Chinese tea to Europe. Napoleon now called for the cultivation of sugar beets in northern France and the Belgian provinces. to drink coffee imported from the Antilles and to eat sweets made with Martinique or Guadeloupe sugar was to support the economy. had entirely replaced beer. and by the twentieth century the hot drinks. In the nineteenth century. industrialist. and from there it spread to other Caribbean islands and the South American mainland. Throughout the nineteenth century. and by boat from Venice to the trading center of Marseille. The banker. and soups as morning meals. where the aristocracy considered the drink an aphrodisiac. Perception of coffee’s effects varied. The taste for sugared coffee and the other beverages was initially restricted to aristocratic and bourgeois circles. and crusaders supervised sugar plantations in Jerusalem. in view of the competition from other colonial nations. the botanist Olivier de Serres had remarked on the high sugar content of beets. cane cultivation spread with Arabian settlements to areas of the Mediterranean and North Africa. decorated royal tables as symbols of wealth and power. sent quantities of sugar to Europe.
During the 1860s. and candied fruits. discuss politics. working class prejudice mitigated against sugar. At the novel’s start. Procope eschewed the eastern custom of leaving the grounds in the cup. or wondrous decoration for luxurious tables. dining room. allowing bourgeois citizens to purchase power along with noble titles.
. including bankers. Over the stimulating small bowls or cups of coffee. but the sway of the merchant and bourgeois classes.24
Food Culture in France
had a reliable local source of sugar. This works out to about one teaspoonful each day. cafés became common in Paris and modern-style restaurants developed. As late as the 1890s. the café still operates in Paris. he has married his way into a family of fermiers généraux (tax farmers). grew in the urban centers. Because cafés were open to all comers. Since then. The monarch sold administrative ofﬁces to raise money. savory staples of meat and bread. sugar was viewed as unhealthy9. salon.5 kilograms (74 pounds) of sugar each year. liqueurs. the bourgeois ﬁscal administrators and money lenders whose opulent eating habits rivaled those of the previous century’s aristocrats.
In the eighteenth century. No longer a medical wonder. sugar became the common sweetener and preservative that it is today. and debate the latest play. and this attitude changed.7 pounds) of sugar yearly. At present. The rags-to-riches story in Pierre Carlet de Marivaux’s novel Le Paysan parvenu (The Parvenu Peasant. Following Italian practice. many a café has served at once as ofﬁce. Many cafés served a selection of foods as well as coffee. consumption averaged 5. play chess. along with ices. coffee-drinking acquired its lasting association with conversation and the free exchange of information. the average person consumes nearly 33. They notably provided an ambiance quite different from the boozy miasma of the tavern. rare spice. In contrast with the nourishing. however. the protagonist is fed by the cook in the back kitchen of the house where he is a servant. 1735) marked rungs on the social ladder through culinary and gastronomic distinctions. yet retained hereditary privileges. and daily or nightly haven for writers scribbling away under the gaze of the garçon de café (café waiter). France’s ﬁrst successful café had been opened in the 1670s by the young Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli. and instead served ﬁltered coffee. By its end.3 kilograms (about 11. and he presides over his own richly appointed table. Four-ﬁfths of the population still lived in villages and rural areas. people from all walks of life sat down to read the newspaper. Nobles engaged in trades such as mining to exploit their land. In this era new customs blurred old divisions among the social orders. known as Franç ois Procope. sugar manufacturers began to advertise heavily.
1751–1765) that the philosophe Denis Diderot. Diderot gave the word a new.
The democratic attitude that ﬂourished in the café guided the Enlightenment approach to food in other spheres. and strawberries. Accordingly. et des Métiers (Encyclopedia.Historical Overview
Little escapes the watchful eye of the café waiter. butchering. In his article on the topic for the Encyclopédie. secular deﬁnition and introduced the notion of moderation. but also on pastry-making. and jurisprudence. ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences. the mathematician Jean Le Rond d’Alembert. Arts. bread-baking. The word gourmandise or gluttony had referred since the fourteenth century to the Deadly Sin. and Trades. Materialist thought even rationalized pleasure by means of the table. The editors believed that analysis and reason should be applied in all domains. Courtesy of Hervé Depoil. des Arts. Now gourmandise also meant the deepened enjoyment that comes with understanding. The topic is treated with interest in the great Encyclopédie. or Reasoned Dictionary of the Sciences. they solicited articles not just on the expected topics of theology. Cultivated into an
. history. and others wrote collaboratively at mid-century. Although of delicate digestion. Diderot notoriously loved to eat and drink. and he took pleasure into account.
Social critics associated with the later Enlightenment couched their discussions in a more polemical way. he observed. Today.11
The modern restaurant experience took shape in Paris in the late eighteenth century. apply heat to butter and dairy products. informed appreciation for the daily pleasures of cooking and eating is a deﬁning aspect of the French approach to food. Rousseau was actually a francophone Swiss. the philosophe and novelist Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Writing during the 1780s.” Given the choice. all observant Catholics were still supposed to avoid prohibited foods or foods of unclear status. such as eggs. Beginning in the 1760s. contrary to the received idea that the sophisticated French eat well. the reformer and journalist Louis-Sébastien Mercier recorded in the Tableau de Paris (Picture of Paris) the misery that ecclesiastical fasting requirements inﬂicted on the poor. ou la Nouvelle Héloïse (Julie.”10 Foods should be prepared with as few alterations to their original state as possible. In deﬁance of contemporary norms for those with any disposable income. or The New Heloise. the bodily necessity of eating could enhance. because so specialized an art is required to make dishes edible for them. rather than hired wet-nurses. they are in fact the only people “who do not know how to eat. Mercier observed with chagrin that any prohibition unjustly strained the poor. he recommended pure. One should not. about educating children. One should eat foods in season. pastries. [and] fruits. The word restaurant
. for instance. breast-feed their new babies. On lean days. Bread riots that continued through the most of the century bore out this view. In his novel Émile (1762). whose real problem was getting enough to eat at all.26
Food Culture in France
intellectual as well as a sensual experience. everyday existence. rather than simply maintain. 1761). children incline to vegetables along with “dairy products. He complained that. was a bestseller. Rousseau advocated that mothers. saw both urbane gastronomic pleasure and urban food shortage as two sides of the same decadent coin. simple food as the most wholesome and also as the best for character formation. and Rousseau’s novel Julie. a few guilded traiteurs or cook-caterers expanded business by offering meals in a different kind of setting than the rough table d’hôte of the innkeeper. His ideas for a natural diet reached a wide audience. which portrayed an ideal family and household economy. a staple for many who did not have the means to pay for meat. which makes people “cruel and ferocious.” and they eschew meat. Ever the contrarian. Parents sought guidance in Émile to raising their own children.
notably. salubrious preparations could also. rather than bloodlines. exporting abroad for commercial purposes not just la cuisine française (French cooking) but. Before long. After the revolutionary decade (1790s). which is still open today. legal reforms enacted under Napoleon shaped a country changed by republican ideas although still breathing ancien régime air. soft-boiled eggs. It fostered meritocracy rather than entitlement based on inherited name or rank. diners sat at private. The new Code Napoléon or Civil Law Code of 1804 scripted autonomy and equality (at least. who had cooked for the Count of Provence. who had trained as a lawyer. Véfour. opened in 1782 by Antoine Beauvilliers. either within the country or elsewhere. individual tables. who served southern specialties such as brandade de morue (creamed salt cod) and bouillabaisse (Provençal ﬁsh soup). In new maisons de santé (“health houses”) or salles du restaurateur (“restaurateur’s rooms”) the caterers aimed to appeal to clients by providing the health-giving decoctions on a ﬂexible schedule. although the ﬁrst trip to a restaurant could be fraught with peril. They caught on quickly. for men) before the law. the future Louis XVIII. These included the Trois Frères Provençaux (Three Brothers from Provence). an entire French dining experience. His satirical response was to develop a mocking code gourmand or food
. the term restaurant meant the eating house itself. had a serious interest in food and deep skepticism regarding the motives of the powerful. fruit preserves. they served items such as boiled capons. Many opened restaurants. some private cooks who had been employed in great houses had to start over.Historical Overview
designated a “restorative” soup or bouillon made from meat or fowl that was reduced to a rich essence. and rice puddings. It was necessary to decipher the menu and sometimes to outsmart a sneaky maître d’hôtel who could run up the bill by bringing extras. QUALITY.
COMFORT. be kept or quickly prepared for service at a moment’s notice. Grimod. After the Revolution and the chaos of the Terror in the early 1790s. AND ENJOYMENT
The largely unsung hero of the modern working class and middle class table was the eclectic aristocrat turned food critic Alexandre Balthazar Laurent Grimod de la Reynière (1758–1837).12 The famous early establishments were based in Paris. The new establishments listed the available dishes and their prices on a carte or menu. The light. In addition to broths. “Quality” now came from work or performance. the Grande Taverne de Londres (Great London Tavern). Although they frequented a public place. the customer chose exactly what and when he or she wanted to eat. and Véry. conveniently.
through nearly the end of the preceding century). in part for the advertising. and writers.13 During the Napoleonic Empire (1804–1815). Despite his own distinguished. boutiques. critics. Good taste and knowledge now emerged from interactions among producers and consumers. Like many others of his time. This allowed the eater to fully appreciate each food at the peak of its perfection and to enjoy it hot. Simplicity made the method adaptable for modest households. The service of a full meal in separate courses became standard in the most elegant and expensive contexts by the 1860s. Today. and writers and readers. eaters. Each preparation should come to the table completely prepared and perfectly done. and consumers. he soon tired of Napoleon’s all-conquering military sweep across Europe and worried over the hostilities with Britain. but rather from establishments open to the public (or at least. such as the ﬁne mineral waters. Grimod’s system had its coercive aspects. He was an early advocate of serving in the style then called à la russe (Russian style). meat stews. During the national conversion to the metric system and uniform system of weights and measures. Grimod had a strong sense of duty as a public advocate. and in part for fear of reprisal from this fearsome new species of ally-adversary. the food critic. the wealthier segments) and from the response of that public. Grimod had a modern taste for comfort and enjoyment. To protest the former. for instance. while resting assured that he had a similar portion to his neighbor. Grimod preferred that each service or course of a meal consist of a single dish. too. What is remarkable is that fashion in food no longer emanated from exclusive removes associated with the centralized power (the court. he invented (in 1804) a clever system for judging quality and “legitimating” all that was best to eat. He recommended that meals be simpliﬁed. He disdained the old aristocratic preference for ostentation. the
. This meant that he persuaded caterers and restaurateurs to give him samples of their wares. he championed (from his desk chair and dining table—Parisian central command for gastronomic operations) specialties of. Instead of the old service à la française. exceedingly wealthy origins.28
Food Culture in France
connoisseur’s canon of laws for the table. the German states. or chefs and eaters. and steamed dumplings. the same is true for the complex relationships that exist today among food producers. The latter interfered with the ﬂow of goods so necessary to support ﬁne dining. Grimod’s guides fueled the nascent gastronomic industry made up of restaurants. all belonged to a consumer culture that was expanding in many domains. Food producers did so. Grimod vociferously criticized unscrupulous shopkeepers and traders who took advantage of the situation to overcharge customers or short-weight meats or produce. At the same time.
sociable banter demystiﬁed dining rituals formerly associated with grand tables and endeared the author to generations of readers. The chef Antonin or Marie-Antoine Carême (1783–1833). Notes on the physical faculties of taste and digestion. in Brillat’s view. like Grimod and Brillat. Food appreciation. If Grimod mobilized a comprehensive revolution at the table. the more famous writer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826) spread the word with the deliciously amusing Physiologie du goût (Physiology of Taste. and nearly everything makes its way into his book. Brillat’s cheerful. ending up in New England. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/ regard public-unpact. observations not only on feasting and fasting but also on thirst. jokes for enlivening a dinner party—all have their place in the Physiologie.
ceremonial yet simple structure is typical for any full meal. a history of science culminating with “the science of gastronomy” triumphant.Historical Overview
Enjoyment is the best praise for good cooking. gossipy anecdotes. participated both in the ancien and in the nouveau
. is fundamental to the understanding of nearly everything. whether served at home or in a restaurant. Brillat was a magistrate who ﬂed France during the Terror. a discussion of the “Inﬂuence of Gourmandise on Marital Bliss. 1826). where he taught French and music and famously shot a wild turkey in the “virgin forests” of Connecticut before making his way back home.” recommendations for fattening and slimming diets.
He was a great fan of the expensive trufﬂe and other such luxuries. and dietary. preferring jobs that better integrated them into the professional community of cooks. treatment by novelists. The accounts of travelers and memoirists. and he preferred a modiﬁed version of service à la française. which had mechanized factories
Restaurant culture expanded rapidly during the nineteenth century. 1833). By that time. He was a private chef in the old style who served some of the most prominent individuals in Europe. sense of proportion. The socialist politics of the 1980s ﬁnally made the situation somewhat embarrassing for at least some employers. and documents such as balance sheets and menus give a sense of why this was so. Carême was also a self-made man and phenomenal selfpromoter who achieved fame and professional success in a thoroughly modern fashion. industrialization favored urbanization. the Bourbon monarchy restored in 1815) and Baron James de Rothschild. rakish bishop. The employment of highly accomplished private cooks in many wealthy and upper middle class houses continued until well after the mid-twentieth century. he clearly had a professional interest in avoiding the truly modern simplicity advocated by Grimod. Carême had nothing good to say about the use of spices. As a cook for fancy clients. the Napoleonic Empire. He authored several volumes on pastry-making and cooking. and delicacy of ﬂavor. contemporary studies of eating out. and Rouen.30
Food Culture in France
régimes—political. Mulhouse. including Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (wily politician. but he felt strongly that magniﬁcence and elaborate decoration had their place on the table. The ﬁve-volume cookbook (the last two volumes were ﬁnished by his executors after his death) modernizes aristocratic grande cuisine for the grand bourgeois table. The nineteenth-century population was predominantly rural and agricultural. including the great oeuvre heavily entitled Art de la cuisine française au 19e siècle: Traité élémentaire et pratique suivi de dissertations culinaires et gastronomiques utiles au progrès de cet art (Art of French Cuisine in the Nineteenth Century: Basic and Practical Treatise Followed by Culinary and Gastronomic Dissertations Useful to the Progress of this Art. All the same. and a steady stream of people left the country for the northern and eastern coal-mining cities and places such as Lille. few people capable of cooking on a high level cared to work as private servants. and notable gastronome who served under several administrations: the republican Directory of the late 1790s. social. His cooking was famous for its variety.
beginning in the 1830s. Restaurants, at this juncture, like the taverns and cafés that preceded them, opened primarily in cities and were a mainstay of workers. Quality of the food, ambience, and price varied, as they do today. The multiplication of fancy restaurants during the First Empire had fostered a connoisseur culture peopled by the new food critics and gastronomes, as well as ostentatious consumption by high rollers of various stripes. This grande cuisine or haute cuisine culminated late in the century in the cooking and cookbooks of chef Auguste Escofﬁer (1846–1935) and in dining rooms within the new “palaces” or grand hotels. But an equally or perhaps even more remarkable phenomenon was the spread of decent but inexpensive restaurants that served a modest prix ﬁxe (ﬁxed price) menu aimed at a middle class clientele. Such menus listed prices for full meals in three or four courses, not for individual items, giving one a package deal. Workers favored inexpensive bouillon shops, where they chose from a limited range of à la carte (individually listed) items served in small portions; the series of beef and bouillon restaurants opened in the 1860s by the butcher Duval are an early example of a chain restaurant. Dairy restaurants were also popular among the working classes. Cheap gargotes catered to the impecunious, such as students and laborers. Guinguettes (outdoor cafés and dance-halls) opened seasonally outside city limits to avoid the municipal taxes. The café-concerts had music as well as coffee, alcohol, and food. Restaurants de nuit had dancing and usually a dubious reputation. Menus in these diverse restaurants had in common that they varied by season and offered three and sometimes four courses to compose a full meal. Two massive studies based on interviews of workers begun in the mid-nineteenth century, Pierre-Guillaume-Frédéric Le Play’s Ouvriers Européens (European Workers, 1855) and the collective work completed by his followers entitled the Ouvriers des Deux Mondes (Workers from Two Worlds, 1859–1930), show that motivations for frequenting restaurants were diverse. These ranged from periodic indulgence or overindulgence in food and wine, usually right after payday, to making oneself available for encounters that would drum up business and increase one’s income. Sometimes one simply purchased at a restaurant what was needed to supplement the essentials of a meal brought from home.14 In many cases, small, cramped city apartments without amenities for cooking made eating out a matter of necessity. New lighting technologies—stable-burning oil lamps (by the 1790s), gas lamps (1860s), and electricity (1880s)—strategically adopted by businesses increased the appeal of restaurants and lengthened opening hours.15 The legacy of the affordable public eating culture has
Food Culture in France
been quite inﬂuential. Today, motivations for eating out differ, but it is typical that throughout the country one can eat a meal of decent quality outside the home without breaking the bank.
OLD WAYS AND NEW
In the late nineteenth century, outside of the cities with their mechanized factories and restaurant culture, the picture was quite different. Twothirds of the population lived in rural areas and villages. The lifestyle was agricultural, and farming was essentially preindustrial; it is ironic that in this era, Third Republic (1870–1940) politicians famously justiﬁed ambitious colonial expansion as a mission civilisatrice or mission to civilize and assist in the modernization of the occupied countries. At home, meals for most people still reﬂected the aim of self-sufﬁciency. With the exception of a few items such as salt, sugar, and coffee that had to be purchased, what was eaten came from the kitchen garden or the family farm. For farmers, still called paysans (peasants or country people), main meals were built around soups, which stretched ingredients as far as possible. Other staples were the garden vegetables that stored well: potatoes, carrots, cabbages, and beans. If animals were kept, butter and eggs could be sold. If a pig was killed, it was pickled or smoked, to last the whole 12-month cycle.16 Bread came from the village baker, or might still be baked at home. For those who lived and—for the moment, stayed—in the country, it was not so much the texture or material aspect of life but rather attitudes that underwent a certain revision. The early years of the Third Republic were characterized by a mix of nationalism and protectionism, on the one hand, and democratic ideals and liberal economic policies, on the other. The relationship among village bread baker, priest, and schoolmaster in the classic ﬁlm La Femme du boulanger (The Baker’s Wife, 1939) poignantly depicts the difﬁcult changing of the conceptual guard.17 The 1880s had brought free, compulsory primary school education for all children and the abolishment of religious education in public schools. The schoolmaster was charged to represent the Republic and universally to inculcate its values in his pupils. He supplanted the priest as an exemplary ﬁgure in villages. At the same time, at least in some rural areas, the routines of everyday life had hardly changed. In the ﬁlm, when the village baker is deserted by his wayward wife, he becomes so distraught that he cannot make bread, and the village begins to worry about its stomach. Priest and schoolmaster, who conversed by peevish argument, now join forces to—of all things— ford a stream to reach the baker’s wife and coax her into returning home. The priest is hampered by the voluminous skirts of his cassock and suffers
being carried on the shoulders of the teacher, who wears a modern (and masculine) suit. The waters part neither for the priest nor for the teacher. The teacher seems better equipped to meet the challenges of modern life, but the priest has a practiced bedside manner. Both are instrumental in reestablishing harmony and unity in their community. Communion in the village is now secular. It takes place at the baker’s and in each family’s dining room, as much as in the church, with the baker’s bread rather than the host distributed by the priest, and over the sociable glass of pastis (anise liqueur typical in the South) taken at the one village café rather than with the sip of consecrated wine. The ﬁlm presents a nostalgic, idealized vision of village life, yet it is also accurate in some of the essentials. It is notable that rituals of communion—or community—persist so strongly. Participation in the collectivity of the village and shared cultural memory exert a strong force.
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND AUTHENTICITY
Industrialization brought the looming threat that the individual character of foods and food production, associated with quality and safety, could be obliterated by impersonal processes beyond the ken of consumers or of most producers. Adulteration of wine, either to doctor the ﬂavor or to attempt to preserve it, had always been a problem, although some practices were considered acceptable. Fraud and the deﬁnition of words complicated the issue. For instance, “wine” made from raisins rather than fresh grapes technically was made from grapes. In the late nineteenth century, new chemical processes of synthesis forced people to imagine the weird possibility that a liquid sold as wine might not be made from grapes at all.18 Wine, bread, and meat were the essential sources of calories for urban workers. A further strain was caused by increased demand for wine in the cities at the same time that a devastating string of contagions decimated vines in the countryside. Destructive mildews, grape phylloxera (a kind of aphid) and other plagues caused wine production to plummet in the 15 years from 1875 to 1889 to a mere quarter of earlier levels. A hygenics movement concerned with the rise in alcoholism insisted that it was the modern adulterated wines that were causing problems. The ancestral beverage of the Gauls, on the other hand, was touted as nourishing and healthy. The regulations and attitudes that emerged were part of the reaction to the complex of issues presented by industrialization, production in difﬁcult times, and rising demand. Laws passed in the late nineteenth century provided ever more precise descriptive deﬁnitions of wines and methods of wine production.
Food Culture in France
The Griffe Law of 1889 speciﬁed that “No one shall expedite, sell, or cause to be sold under the name of wine any product other than that deriving from the fermentation of fresh grapes.” This was le vin naturel or “natural wine.” Vin factice, which meant “artiﬁcial” or “elaborated” or “synthetic” wine, was not condemned, but it was now clearly to be distinguished from “natural” wine. The idea was that information would orient people to choose “natural” wine; fraud, it was assumed, would be eliminated as a consequence. When this did not happen, more interventionist statutes were passed to prevent certain types of adulteration. Notably, a new law passed in 1894 forbade mouillage or stretching wine with water (from mouiller, to wet or moisten) and vinage or increasing the alcohol content by adding must. Mouillage did not threaten the health of anybody who drank the treated wine, but the motivation for making it illegal was to promote transparency in business transactions. The longstanding law of 1905 against fraud enlarged on this idea, leading to debate among winemakers and ﬁnally to a new statute in 1907 that precisely detailed how words such as vin (wine) and méthode champenoise (Champagne-making method) should be used to correspond to speciﬁc processes of production. Later in the century, socialist and protectionist politics continued in the same direction of regulation, but for different reasons than the earlier laws inspired by liberal motives. Strict regulation of fraud and a politics of quality served the national economic interest; for the same reason, the concern for public health became another primary motive for food regulation.
TERROIR AND CONTROLLED DENOMINATION OF ORIGIN
Late nineteenth-century regionalism and the retour à la terre (“return to the soil” or peasantism) that ﬂourished between the two World Wars contributed to deﬁning the singular nature of foods through terroir. To be sure, neither regional specialty nor the term terroir was anything new. GalloRomans knew that their best oysters came from Brittany and Normandy and that there were no better hams than those from Bayonne. The royal tables of the absolutist era groaned under the weight of what was best from all over France. In the ﬁrst decades of the nineteenth century, Grimod de la Reynière advocated gastronomic tourism, writing that one had to travel to Riom (Auvergne) to eat the best frogs legs, properly prepared by a knowledgeable local expert. In 1808, the lawyer and pharmacist Charles Louis Cadet de Gassicourt published a carte gastronomique (gastronomic map) keyed with small pictures to show the typical foods for each region and town. Awareness of regional particularity increased throughout the
of unclear provenance and little savor. topography (slope. the term took on an association with other characteristics perceived as local. Like regional specialty. sunlight.Historical Overview
century and was key both for rallying nationalist sentiment and stimulating the tourist industry. Today. and taste that deﬁnes good-quality. at that point. such as lamb from the prés-salés (salt marshes) and garriguettes. or the speciﬁc vineyard within a geographical region or even a town. artisanal wines and foods. was called the accent of his terroir. In the nineteenth century. are named second. Terroir is related to terre (earth. Bordeaux wines. Terroir also includes historical and cultural practices of the people involved. chemistry. a Chablis. Regulations for the AOC derive from classiﬁcations for Bordeaux wines instituted in the mid-nineteenth century. or the human element. As a way of competing. as they are today. area). as trains and other forms of transport made it easier to travel and also to perceive regional variations. interaction with water). the term terroir is used to evoke the connection among place. The speciﬁcity that informs terroir also underpins the Appellation d’origine contrôlée or AOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin). inexpensive Spanish and Portuguese wines were cutting out French wines from European markets. During the twentieth century. One speaks of a wine or a food. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. the term has been used in French since the thirteenth century to mean a plot of land suitable for cultivation. if redolent of the countryside. This meaning of the term terroir informs the familiar French metonymy for wine. A person’s way of speaking. Of Latin origin. a Bordeaux. the effort to decentralize culture from Paris into the provinces led to cooperation between the state and the regions to develop local identities. altitude). For wine. the elongated strawberries originally grown in scrublands. Additional details. as having the goût du (taste of) terroir. pinot noir) from which they are made. winegrowers from the Médoc region
. and so on) and the year or vintage. A food or wine with the taste of terroir is understood in opposition to commercial or industrial fast food and supermarket products seen as sterile and impersonal. and soil (its physical characteristics. rainfall) of the location where the grapes are grown. cabernet. French wines are identiﬁed ﬁrst by the place from which they come: a Côtes-du-Rhône. manufacturing process. the term terroir is as old as the hills that it long designated. components of terroir include the climate (temperature. dirt) and territoire (territory. were not known as being unusually good or even very distinctive. such as the cépage (type of vine or grape: gamay. Whereas American wines are identiﬁed ﬁrst by the name of the grape (merlot.
Along the way. from the poulet de Bresse (Bresse
Village appellation red burgundy from the Côte de Beaune district of the Côte d’Or. The ﬁfth estate was not added until 1973. They paid special attention to aging the reds in oak barrels. as imitations of the distinguished bottles came on the market.
.19 The many winemakers whom the grades excluded naturally wished to obtain some sort of distinguishing label for their own bottles. To improve quality. the premier cru designation was awarded to wines from four estates. Courtesy of Philippe Bornier. the AOC was expanded to cover all manner of foods as well as wines. proprietors evolved special classiﬁcations that were applied beginning in 1855. In 1990. More capacious legislation passed in 1935 established the Appellation d’origine contrôlée. Today. This reinforced the connection between the place where grapes where grown and the resulting wine.36
Food Culture in France
applied themselves to strategically developing grands crus or distinguished Bordeaux wines that stand up to long aging and command very high prices. these growers also consolidated the cultivated parcels on their estates. which could be applied to wines from locations other than in Bordeaux. As a measure of protection for their exceptional wines. In the ﬁrst year. The prestigious labels were not easy to obtain. The fraud laws became important for winemakers. the speciﬁc type. and the mode of production of a variety of products. The best label of premier cru (ﬁrst growth) and even the least distinguished label of cinquième cru (ﬁfth growth) vastly increased the market value of these wines. they carefully cultivated the oldest and best vines. the AOC certiﬁes the place of origin.
chicken) and beurre d’Isigny-Sainte-Mère (Isigny-Sainte-Mère butter). practical form to the appreciation for quality and particularity. to various fruits. and lettuce at market shortly before the conversion in 2002 from the French franc to the Euro as the unit of currency. and including some of the vins de table (table wines). Because the designation AOC indicates a historical pedigree and also functions something like a patent for the ﬁnal product.
FRANCE AND EUROPE
Because of membership in the European Union. ironically. extensive research and documentation are necessary to establish the application dossier for a food. The certiﬁcation of the AOC gives a concrete. Today the European Commission administers a set of indications based on geography and origin for food and wine in all the member states. Courtesy of Philippe Bornier. laws pertaining to food must now be negotiated within that framework.
. radishes. It embodies the general acknowledgment that food with the best ﬂavor and the most appealing textures may result from carefully. the European Community Council passed regulations based on the French AOC that extend to all the member states. The passage of the European legislation coincided. overseen processes of cultivation and manufacture. even painstakingly. The AOC also functions as a protectionist measure that is a boon to sellers and producers and to tourism. with the reduction of trade barriers within the member
Farmer selling artichokes. In 1992.
54. they simply make clear that. Devon: Prospect Books. in Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum merovingicarum 5 (Hanover: Impensis bibliopolii Hahniani. 61. Halborg with E. 1947). Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. On the Governance of God (c. a popular vote defeated a referendum to approve the proposed draft of a European Constitution. 1992). Juan de Castellanos. Gordon Whatley (Durham: Duke University Press. This includes a relatively liberal approach toward free trade and privatization. Historia del Nuevo Reino de Granada (ca.
. 1949). Life of Charlemagne (ca. 2. 2002). 3. for fear of the consequences that greater liberalism could have on cherished social protections and on the quality of life. Rather. Brereton and Janet M.38
Food Culture in France
states of the European Union. 440s). Satires (1663–1701). Cited in Redcliffe N. The History and Social Inﬂuence of the Potato (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. translator Jeremiah F. 1996). III and VII. 636 and 674. 254 Helmst. Vita Sadalbergae abbatissae Laudunensis 20. editor Bruno Krusch. subsidies in place since the early 1960s for its farmers. Einhard the Frank. 6. editors and translators Jo Ann McNamara and John E. 36. 1969).. Despite compliance in other areas. Salvian of Marseille. cod. 1 (Paris: GarnierFlammarion. or even much reduce. in Oeuvres vol. But these stances hardly prevent ongoing engagement with European projects. 1970). on occasion. 4. 8. at present. Anthimus. “Volumus quod in horto omnes herbas habeant…” (We want that all the plants be cultivated in the garden…). 64–67. in Capitulare de villis. 7. guelf. 1393). translator Karin Ueltschi (Paris: Librarie Générale Française. Cited in Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. 16. 1538. translator and editor Mark Grant (Totnes. 2 vols. editors Georgina E. LXX. Karolus Imperator Capitulare de Villis. Ferrier. De observatione ciborum (On the Observance of Foods). Nicolas Boileau. 1910).
1. Le Mesnagier de Paris (ca. In the spring of 2005. 5. Compliance with European economic policy imposes common standards on member nations. 189–90 and Bonnie Effros. translator Lewis Thorpe (London: Folio Society. Salaman. to conﬂicts of interest. France is notorious for refusing to abandon. published Madrid: 1886). 1994). This has led. the negative vote was seen as a major setback for Europe. O’Sullivan (New York: Cima Publishing Company. der August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. from The Writings of Salvian. 1971). At the time. the primary challenge is to balance the particular concerns of France with the larger endeavors of Europe. editor Carlrichard Brühl (Stuttgart: Müller und Schindler. 829–36). the Presbyter.
Food. 15. Eating Out in Europe (Oxford: Berg. 1880–1914. 37. 194. 18. Robert Darnton. New York: Vintage Books. 2001).” in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984. ou de l’éducation (1762). 203–20.Historical Overview
9.” in French Food: On the Table. Eugen Weber. “A Bourgeois Good? Sugar. The Invention of the Restaurant (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2003). editors Lawrence R. 2003). Drink and Identity. “Eating Out during the Workday: Consumption and Working Habits among Urban Labourers in France in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. Grimod de la Reynière. 1985). 123–50. Book 2 (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion. 337–49 in Marc Jacobs and Peter Scholliers. Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 13. and in French Culture. and ‘La Francité’: From le pain quotidien to McDo. 10. 19. 46–50.” in La qualité des produits en France (XVIIIe-XXe siècles). Alessandro Stanziani. Cinquième année (Paris: Maradan. 233. 11. 1807). “Readers Respond to Rousseau: The Fabrication of Romantic Sensitivity. Dana Strand. 2000). editor Peter Scholliers (Oxford: Berg.” pp. Anne Lhuissier.
. 2001).. Adel P. Almanach des gourmands. Norms of Consumption and the Labouring Classes in Nineteenth-Century France. 12. eds. den Hartog. Martin Breugel. 16. Emile. Schehr and Allen S. 1994). 1966). Vintages and Traditions (Washington: Smithsonian Institution. “La construction de la qualité du vin. “Film.” pp. 1996).” pp. Ulin. 17. Robert C. The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s (New York: Norton. 99–118 in Food. Rebecca Spang. 14. Weiss (New York: Routledge. 263–80 in Jacobs and Scholliers. editor Alessandro Stanziani (Paris: Belin. on the Page. “Technological Innovations and Eating Out as a Mass Phenomenon in Europe.
for instance. Only a century ago. and.2
Major Foods and Ingredients
An astounding variety of foods are eaten in France. followed by vegetables. Your pain quotidien (daily bread) is the food that you count on eating every day. Even so. as well as a powerful religious symbol. then cheese. Americans are of course quite familiar with items such as beef. to the many imports. more recently. as well as the typical preparations give beef a special ﬂavor in France. The taste for. Today. and meat come ﬁrst. To “take the bread out of someone’s mouth” is to rob him of his livelihood. wine. say. about three
. grated raw celery root salad with a cream dressing—a favorite bistro lunch—may come as a a surprise. the common orchard fruits. baked goods—and the digestif (after-dinner drink) appear at the end. Dessert—fruits. The language has numerous expressions that refer to bread. each person ate 500 grams (on the order of a half-pound) daily. because it is how you earn (gagner) the bread that keeps you alive. different butchering practices. this chapter broadly follows the structure of the traditional meal in courses. Horse is not treated as food in the United States. bread was a staple of the diet. Bread. A slang word for a job is gagne-pain. To present the major foods and ingredients. to long-standing traditions of cultivation and of practices such as hunting.
For centuries. This is due to the diversity of agricultural production. and eponymous exports such as Champagne.
delicately crispy. for country-style loaves.42
Food Culture in France
Buying a baguette at the boulangerie Au pain chô in Sainte Maxime. and darker bread made from unreﬁned wheat or rye was typical for the poor. Rustic
. The bâtard (bastard) is a free-form loaf named for the mixed leavening agents—both yeast and a sour-dough starter—used to make it. similarly long but half the diameter. A slim relative of the baguette is the ﬁcelle (string). that is. rather in boulangeries (bakery shops) or industrial bakeries. as a matter of course. Bread—no matter how small the quantity—makes a meal complete.
or four slices of bread is average. bistros. The dough rising on the racks at the back of the shop awaits baking. Courtesy of Hervé Depoil. Recent interest in eating whole grains for health has brought dark breads back into fashion. crusty white baguette is typical of Paris. taken out of the oven when it is still pale gold.5 inches). slices of bread are placed on the table in a basket to accompany food. In a bakery the baguette can be purchased bien cuite (well cooked). darker and dryer. and restaurants. that is. the crust is crispy. The long (70 cm or 27. At best. or pas trop cuite (baked less). Large round boules used to be a staple. and moister on the inside. and the crumb chewy and delicate. Breads are identiﬁed by name and. Bread is rarely made at home. In cafés. thin. by weight. although it is eaten all over the country.
As recently as the late 1930s. a silkier and more elastic crumb. They require more labor. as well as bagels covered with poppy or sesame seeds. or else broken off in chunks. earthly contentment.Major Foods and Ingredients
pains de campagne (country breads) can be enriched with dried ﬁgs. or stoneground ﬂours. They use older processes. olives. when adding bread to soup made a heartier meal. Today. it really was often safer to drink wine. Most bread is sliced in the kitchen or at table. poet Charles Baudelaire evoked the inﬁnitely variable “soul” of wine in a series of poems. and attention from the baker. beer. and cider. effectively sterilized through the presence of alcohol. responsible for a ﬁfth of global production. vegetables.
Wine has been produced on French soil since antiquity. When bread-baking practices were standardized and mechanized in the second half of the twentieth century. such as organic. In the mid-nineteenth century. the braided loaf fortiﬁed with eggs that is eaten on the Sabbath. The old-style breads cost more than industrially produced loaves but taste so much better that people seek them out. to eat with a meal. In Paris. Wine has long been thought of as hygienic and nourishing. The “different” wines drunk by rag-pickers. Jewish bakeries sell challah. wine consumption averaged 170 liters (45 gallons) per person yearly. the artisanal methods result in bread that has a deeper ﬂavor. Bread and crumbs have numerous uses in cooking. such as prooﬁng with sourdough or wheat ﬂour starter instead of with fast-rising yeast. Before the modern understanding of water cleanliness and contamination. The old-style processes are slower. about a half-liter (the better part of a pint) each day. however. Wine was usually mixed with water. some bakers have begun to reverse this trend. In certain métiers or trades. or potatoes that is baked in the oven. and deep sleep. Panade is a carryover from poorer days and peasant traditions. poetic inspiration. It usually was drunk mixed with water. unreﬁned. They choose better ingredients. and better keeping qualities. quality declined. not to mention poets1 lead variously to drunkenness (either divine or simply boorish). The taste for croûtons (toasted slices of bread) with soup remains. The high level of alcohol consumption led to high levels of liver problems and alcoholism. France is the premier producer in the world. and other cities with Jewish communities. assassins. spiritual transcendence. Recently. they form an attractive crust. a safe beverage that gives life and strength. skill. such as among
. Sprinkled on top of a dish of meat. and nuts. Croûtons are placed in the bottom of onion soup bowls. Metz. and lovers. and they accompany ﬁsh soups.
and vice versa. and religious signiﬁcance contribute to the importance of wine. A separate wine for each course is de rigueur for formal and celebration meals. diluting wine with water is now quite rare. Dry Champagne marries well
. Wine sets off food. old drinking traditions have not disappeared. and others sweeter. although combinations ultimately depend on personal preference. or less than one glass each day. Some wines are dryer. and balanced—and as enjoyable as possible. each brings out the tastes and textures of the other to best advantage. harmonious. This causes concern for colleagues. Although only one in four French men and women regularly drinks wine. Some are lighter and simpler in ﬂavor. as heavy drinking is now understood to threaten health and safety. The average stands at approximately 60 liters (15. Tradition and experiment suggest rules of thumb for pairing wine and food.75 gallons) of wine per person each year. economic. others richer and more complex. Alcoholic beverages generally are always accompanied by food. the national beverage. having less sugar. taking them separately. It is one of the components that contributes to making a meal complete—structured.
tannery workers. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact.44
Food Culture in France
Historical. it is essential to the culture of the table. Today. wine is drunk undiluted but in smaller quantities. people drink water and wine. For an everyday meal. The individual ﬂavor and character of each wine derives from the grapes as well as from the production processes. and wine is integrated into meals.
leaving only the ﬂavor (and color. although for the moment the trend to eat signiﬁcantly less meat occurs largely at the highest rungs of the economic ladder. wasting nothing. most people simply purchase inexpensive bottles along with the rest of the groceries. Full-bodied red wines from Burgundy. any Muscat. Although wine drinking overall has declined. They are best drunk within at most a few months. French cooks have the reputation of being creative and frugal. wine forms a marinade. each person eats 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of meat yearly. Since 1975. Meat is the centerpiece for most main meals. The gut-searing piquette of days past has practically disappeared. Concerns for health are causing perceptible shifts in this pattern. Both whites and reds are used for ﬂavoring. Standards and methods of production vastly improved throughout the twentieth century. consumption of la viande (meat) is high. These are the exceptional wines that mature and develop over time (measured in years). Dry white wines accompany ﬁsh or seafood to good effect.
. On average. Of course. although the modern lifestyle prefers fast.
In today’s afﬂuent society. Poured cold over fruit or berries. The alcohol cooks off. ingenious and resourceful. even the cheapest vin ordinaire (everyday wine) tends to be of decent quality. Such bottles are not meant to be kept or aged after bottling. In larger amounts. only slightly behind Australians (110 kilograms or 242 pounds yearly) and Americans (105 kilograms or 231 pounds) as the biggest consumers of meat in the world. veal. such as red meats and cheese. Bordeaux. improving over a long. the trend is to drink better quality wines. Fruit macerated or soaked in wine acquires tenderness as well as ﬂavor. Cooking assigns wine a large number of tasks. the consumption of ﬁne wines has doubled. wine is poured in over high heat to deglaze the pan and mix with the meat juices to form a sauce. Today. there are few vegetarians in France. wine is a cooking medium for meat stews and bean dishes. period. Red wines that are light in character complement chicken dishes. although ﬁnite. Sweet white wines such as Sauternes. France is the foremost producer of meat in the European Union. and Monbazillac pair with foie gras or with a salty appetizer at the beginning of a meal.Major Foods and Ingredients
with just about anything and may be drunk throughout an entire meal. if red). and Languedoc set off sturdy or rich savory foods. They have invented succulent dishes that use all parts of animals slaughtered for meat. but imports to meet the large demand for cuts such as steaks and roasts. After a piece of meat is sautéed in a pan. and charcuterie. It raises more than enough for its own population. simple preparations.
is eaten on a smaller scale than in the past. Cheval (horse). Beef or horse chopped up and eaten raw is tartare. and racks (with bones in) for roasting. Large quantities of horse bones at Upper Pleistocene sites at Solutré. stewing. The dish is baked. Gregory III in 732. leaving only the concentrated ﬂavors of the dish.
Lamb. then served cut in squares. eating horse was frowned upon. saignant (“bloody. highly ﬂavored condiments.” quite rare). In the early Christian era. Overcooking dries out the meat. Provençal boeuf en daube.” rare). grilled. rather than red. and broiling. sweet-tasting raw meat is garnished with pungent. Veal is considered white meat. sautéing. are typical regional dishes. The delicate. sometimes a raw egg is broken over the tartare. It features in recipes adopted from the cuisines of France’s former colonies. the preferred hunting method was to drive large numbers of them off the edge of a cliff. pepper. Cuts of veal are roasted. Before horses were domesticated. pickles. and small onions. ﬂavored with red wine and orange peel. grilling. Horse. or stewed. mushrooms. including chopped onion. such as Moroccan tagines. as the practice was associated with pagan rituals. For hachis parmentier (shepherd’s pie). or beef stew with Burgundy. ground beef is arranged in a baking pan between two layers of potatoes mashed with milk. braising. meat for stewing. and Goat
Studded with garlic and perfumed with rosemary. Thin steaks are accompanied by fried potatoes for steak-frites. capers. much of it imported from the United States. because of its color. Lamb gives chops. bacon. French butchering practices differ from American. frying. sautéed.46
Food Culture in France
Beef and Veal
Most boeuf (beef) comes from the powerful white Charolais cows originally used as draft animals or from cows formerly bred for milk: the black-and-white Normande and the Salers from the Auvergne. salt. and parsley. Fattier cuts of beef are cut into small chunks or cubes. in Burgundy. Tastes do not run to well-cooked steaks. according to preference. Potau-feu combines several types of meat for a rich boiled dinner. Venison. Thicker steaks are eaten bleu (“blue. and
. Two popes. mustard. stews cooked in an earthenware pot with a conical cover and a hole in the top like a chimney through which the steam escapes. or à point (medium rare). Nearly all methods of cooking are used for beef: boiling. ruining the ﬂavor as well as the texture. date the consumption of horse to prehistoric times. a roasted gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb) is the favorite celebration or Sunday meal. The cuts of meat are more numerous and smaller. roasting. and boeuf Bourguignon. then cooked slowly to make stews.
steaks.”2 He meant that nearly every part is edible. the taste for charcuterie is general. lean. added to stews. smoking and drying preserved meat that could not be consumed right away and must be stored against hunger. charcuterie was food for the poor. pigs’ feet) are braised. primarily in stewed and braised dishes. Chevreau (kid) is eaten in the South in the early spring. some preparations are marked with the AOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin). Horse is darker red than beef. A cochon de lait (suckling pig) is roasted whole. the ﬁrst boucherie chevaline. Lard. is indispensable. The dictum Tout est bon dans le cochon (Everything from the pig is good) echoes this observation. The range of charcuterie—cured and cooked preparations primarily from pork—testiﬁes to the ingenuity of generations of butchers and charcutiers. Pieds de porc (trotters. and ribs. including the skin. and dried sausages. opened in Paris. any horsemeat that was available was cheap because it was unpopular. Horse enjoyed a short-lived rise in popularity after the mad cow scares of the 1990s. on the principle that it would improve the diet of the laboring classes. sausages. It is prepared like good-quality beef. Lardons are strips or cubes of pork back fat or lean salt pork that are seasoned. farm-raised sanglier (boar. enrich soups and stews.
Pork and Charcuterie
Porc (pork) is relatively inexpensive and served in roasts. the government promoted horsemeat. Today. smoking. By the nineteenth century. Small pieces ﬂavor omelets. drying. In 1808. wild pig) is also cooked using similar methods as for pork. and productivity would rise. and vegetables. Chevreuil (venison) is available in markets and on restaurant menus in the form of steaks. and then fried or baked. pork takes to processing through salting. In the 1850s. More than any other meat. potatoes. meaty fresh bacon. In the past. it was a mark of prosperity to be able to keep a pig.Major Foods and Ingredients
Zaccharias in 751. or pickled. then tucked into a roast. and ﬂavorful. and pickling. Today. forbade eating horsemeat. which would be slaughtered for its meat. especially in the Paris region and in the Northeast toward Belgium. Their interdictions affected consumption throughout Europe. A few of the specialized butcher shops remain. In a historically rural country. chops. such as chopped raw and garnished in tartare or cooked as steaks and cutlets. Chèvre (goat) is eaten on Corsica. and pan-fried to add to
. the food writer Grimod de la Reynière praised the pig as “encyclopedic” and a “generous animal. Whereas the wealthy could afford freshly slaughtered meat. stews. and garnish salads. or boucherie hippophagique. ﬁllets. In 1866.
chewy texture and a swirly appearance from the strips that compose it. and scribbler. and crisp. creamy. then pan-fried. jewel-like slices. smoked. The “noble” cuts. French hams are less salty than American. like the Italian treatment of prosciutto. with vegetables and spices added for ﬂavor. unctuous texture. and none have a sweet coating on the outside. It has a soft. and gullet. boiling sausages. rich. Bits of pink ham and chopped bright green parsley are molded in clear aspic to make colorful. lumpy Jésus de Morteau was originally a Christmas sausage. marinated. Saucisses or fresh sausages require cooking before being consumed. shoulder. or steaks and roasts. derive from the two forequarters and hindquarters. the feet. although the choice pieces—calf livers. the meat breaks down into a smooth. as part of a light lunch. outstanding when cooked on a grill. the head. professor. are a staple. Andouille or andouillettes is chitterling sausage. Sliced andouille has a ﬁrm. and then cooked. whereas saucisses sèches or saucissons secs (dry or salamitype sausages) need only to be sliced. Richly fatty. the enormous. pale. are recognized by their seal and a tiny wooden peg tied into the end of the sausage. glands. Dry sausages have a ﬁrm.
In deﬁance of mathematics. and is purplish-black in color. the priest turned physician. mass. Braised in fat. and other spices that ﬂavor them. lardons are served to accompany a before-dinner drink. and brains—were often reserved for feasts or celebrations. Ham is eaten as an appetizer. Saucisses de Morteau. Rillettes. soaked. Boudin noir (blood sausage) is coagulated beef or pig blood. It is double-cooked: lightly poached. or sliced into an omelet or quiche. is a ﬁnely textured pork sausage made from bits of the belly. It appears in the spectacular cold preparation jambon persillé from Burgundy. Jambons (hams). Offal has always been the cheapest meat. butchers call les abats (offal) the cinquième quartier (ﬁfth quarter) of a slaughtered animal. pepper. made of pig intestines and stomach that are cleaned. salty. Franç ois Rabelais. comme entendez. oily texture and a sharp ﬂavor from the salt. salty hams sliced paper-thin are eaten with ﬁgs and slices of melon. native to Tours.48
Food Culture in France
salads. Les abats are the rest: organ meats. Rillettes are served sliced into rounds and spread on crusty bread or toast to accompany an apéritif such as a glass of dry white wine. Some hearty stews are based on chunks of fresh ham. Merguez are spiced beef or lamb sausages of North African origin. Dry. boiled and smoked. Whole green pistachios may add sweetness and crunch to a hunter’s venison sausage. wrote an offal feast into his novel Gargantua (1534): Les tripes furent copieuses.
. kidneys. such as whole peppercorns.
or lightly stewed or braised with a sauce such as tomato and red wine. Whole chickens are roasted to a golden brown. The game birds caille (quail).Major Foods and Ingredients
et tant friandes estoient que chacun en leichoit ses doigtz (“The tripe was so copious and so luscious. Ris de veau (sweetbreads. faisan (pheasant). Chapon (capon). but pork and lamb kidneys are eaten as well. sometimes as brochettes (grilled on skewers). and it is served with the breast done slightly rare and pink.
Poultry and Rabbit
La volaille (poultry) is a versatile basic. Rognons de veau (calf kidneys) have the ﬁnest texture and ﬂavor. i. and a tender texture from slow braising. and ready to eat. The langue (tongue) from a cow. Most birds are raised on industrial chicken farms. then garnished with a red wine sauce. white-feathered. animelles (testicles. red-crested coq gaulois or Gallic cock that is the symbol of France is a Bresse fowl and has the AOC. Tripes (tripe or stomach) have a honey-comblike appearance. pigeonneau (squab). or lamb is boiled or braised. then gently sautéed in butter. although domestic demand increases for organic and free-range birds. the thymus gland and sometimes the pancreas). however. it is a boiled dish that gives both soup and a main course from the meat. Turkey and goose are fare for the Christmas season. pintade (Guinea fowl). There are few specialist tripiers these days. Cooked à la mode de Caen. Livers are also grilled. Like the beef pot-au-feu. frivolités). Beef kidney requires braising. and coeur de boeuf (beef heart) are eaten. turkey is in demand year round. delicate foie de veau (calf liver) is coated with a minimal dusting of ﬂour. Poule-au-pot (“chicken in the pot”) is a favorite dish for a weekend meal. as it is large and ﬁrm. Cut into pieces. lemon. Elegant suprême de poulet is a chicken breast stuffed with vegetables sliced very ﬁne.e. Pale.
. that everyone licked their ﬁngers”). then rolled before cooking. traditionally overnight. canard (duck). vinegar. then served with a sauce having a strong acidic component from tomatoes. Lamb or calf cervelles (brains) are marinated. tripe acquires an apple ﬂavor from cider or Calvados.. Tête de veau (calf’s head) is carefully boned so that the features are maintained. The blue-footed. Duck is considered dark or red meat. cooked. then fried or sautéed. they are fricasseed or braised. Gras double is beef tripe that is cleaned. calf. and dinde or dindon (turkey) are eaten. also called. but butchers and supermarkets sell offal. metaphorically. and pork liver is used in pâté. or wine. oie (goose). they are sold with head and feet intact. Beef and lamb offal further features in the East European and North African Jewish and Muslim cuisines that enrich French cooking. France exports more poulet (chicken) than any other country in the world.
Some fresh livers are sold raw to be cooked at home. Goose fat lends outstanding ﬂavor when used to pan-fry potatoes. are often sold already barded or wrapped with strips of bacon or salt pork that melt during cooking. The association derives from the practice of keeping chickens and rabbits in proximity in a basse-cour (farmyard). vegetables. Most foie gras now comes from several departments in the Southwest. mixtures of foie gras and fats resemble pâtés. The rendered fat prevents the meat from coming into contact with air. Today. and omelets. and bécassine (snipe) are considered special treats. large sections from different livers that are lightly pressed together are less expensive. making conﬁt was essential for storing the meat. usually as an appetizer or ﬁrst course. then sold jarred or canned. ducks are given the same treatment as the geese.
Foie gras and Conﬁt d’oie
The Egyptians. rabbit and hare are farmed. Plump geese and ducks raised for foie gras can be cooked and then stored in their own fat. Rabbit responds especially well to moist cooking such as a braise. French household manuals from as early as the sixteenth century give explicit instructions for fostering grand foie (“big liver”) in geese4 through gavage (force-feeding with grain). which enlarge and develop the characteristic silky. The traditional combination of foie gras with trufﬂes is considered the ultimate indulgence. Lapin (rabbit) and lièvre (hare) are sold with poultry. Today. before refrigeration. The tradition was long associated with Jewish communities in Metz and Strasbourg.50
Food Culture in France
perdrix (partridge). The resulting fat is stored primarily in their livers. Geese lack a gag reﬂex. melting texture. as kosher dietary laws permitted eating fowl. Goose
. Whole lobes are considered higher quality. Civet de lapin is rabbit stew ﬂavored with red wine and thickened with the rabbit’s blood or with pig blood. Hot preparations of foie gras are in fact heated just enough to bring out the ﬂavors and texture. and Romans ate foie gras d’oie or fattened goose liver3. It is eaten hot or cold. which tend to dry out. for conﬁt d’oie or conﬁt de canard (preserved goose or duck). so they can swallow about a cup of grain at a time if it is gently funneled into their throats. but the wild animals are fair game for amateur hunters. The small birds. It pairs with jellies and with fortiﬁed or sweet wines. bécasse (woodcock). More frequently they are cooked ﬁrst. Good foie gras is pink and ﬁrm and has a clean-looking shine. At this point the foie gras requires no further cooking. both the meat prepared in this fashion and the ﬂavors of the fats are much appreciated. giving a distinctive unctuous feel on the tongue and a dark color. Phoenicians. and it is used in cooking.
and quail.5 As in many coastal countries. poached eggs are garnished with a clear sauce such as a red wine reduction for oeufs en meurette. Farm ﬁshing adds to the supply but stresses the environment. As with any great dish that is widely loved. the term egg refers automatically to a chicken egg. although markets and farm stands sell eggs from geese. softboiled.
Home cooks prepare poisson (ﬁsh) and fruits de mer (seafood) less frequently than they do meat because the cooking is perceived as difﬁcult or delicate. Bouillabaisse is a Provenç al specialty from the Côte d’Azur. tomatoes) and herbs. As in the United States. industrial ﬁshing has exhausted natural populations. hard boiled. and whites are beaten up into meringues. short pastry ﬁlled with savory custard ﬂavored with ham or smoked bacon. by contrast. and black pepper. Eggs appear as omelets and soufﬂés and in quiche Lorraine.Major Foods and Ingredients
or duck fat ﬂavors cassoulet. the exact number is a matter of debate among cooks and members of one of the gastronomic confréries (brotherhoods or associations) that is devoted to cassoulet. and waste and toxins pollute ﬁshing waters. ducks. and Toulouse. the hearty stew associated with the towns of Castelnaudary. Eggs are essential in baking cakes and pastries. Hard boiled eggs are combined with vegetables and a sturdy sauce to make a main dish. The international trade networks and the use of freezers make most kinds of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh available year round. nutmeg. they are not eaten at breakfast. garlic. grated cheese. Most interpretations involve a base of vegetables (onions. Traditionally. fried. an elegant entrée. or lamb with haricots blancs (navy beans) is baked in a slow oven. ﬂat. yolks are used in custards.
Les oeufs (eggs) are made into innumerable dishes for lunch and dinner. Cultivated ﬁsh further lack the ﬂavor and texture of their wild counterparts. to which stock
. In restaurants. the brown crust must be punched into the pot seven or eight times during baking. The combination of pork rinds. goose. The same is true for France’s rivers. and stuffed. In the South. Carcassonne. baked. every bouillabaisse cook claims an authentic and superior recipe. Creamy ﬁsh and seafood soups including bisques are popular in the Atlantic region. Eggs are scrambled. poached. people order nearly as much ﬁsh as meat. duck. which have supplied very little ﬁsh since the mid-twentieth century. round frittatas heavy with vegetables or potatoes are sliced into wedges like a cake for a summer meal.
and merlu (hake). but always beheaded. lacks tomatoes but contains mussels along with white ﬁsh such as cabillaud (cod) and lotte (monkﬁsh). Oursinade is ﬁsh soup served with sea urchins and a creamy mixture of egg yolks and butter. It is served with toast and aïoli. but rather poached. In the South. as well. and spiny-scaled grondin (gurnard). Saumon (salmon) has been overﬁshed from the Loire River where it was once plentiful. then ﬂavored with mashed fresh garlic. delicate ﬂakes and is best treated with the utmost simplicity. or steamed. Fineﬂeshed truite (trout) appears in classic preparations such as au bleu. daurade (bream). Saint-Pierre (John Dory). unless very large. For rouille. meaty ﬂesh and no bones. salt. strongly ﬂavored
. the sauce that takes its color from cayenne pepper. it is the only ﬁsh that is rolled and tied into roasts. as well as main dishes. some with stufﬁngs made of ﬁnely chopped vegetables. chilies or cayenne pepper. rouget or barbet (mullet). exceptionally. They have inspired numerous preparations. lotte (monkﬁsh) is. because of the unusual ﬁrmness of the ﬂesh. and drizzled with browned butter. The ﬂatﬁsh turbot (turbot) and sole (sole) are among the ﬁnest ﬁsh eaten. Fish with the best texture and ﬂavor is not disguised in soup. scorpion ﬁsh) is the cornerstone. baked. herbed cooking liquid acidulated with vinegar. It is eaten in stews. Raie (skate. Bourride is pale in color and enriched with cream. Fish cooked à la meunière is ﬂoured and pan fried. Rouille is spread on toast or stirred by the spoonful directly into the soup. brochet (pike). and loaf-shaped terrines are based on ﬁsh that is ground to a smooth paste then mixed with seasonings. olive oil is beaten into a mashed potato or some bread crumbs. the ﬁsh dramatically curls and splits. Saffron gives color and ﬂavor. Quenelles are light-textured ﬁsh dumplings that are poached and sauced. never sold whole. fresh mayonnaise ﬂavored with crushed garlic. It has ﬂavorful. Fish soups are accompanied by a red-brown rouille (“rust”). are anguille (eel). carpe (carp). followed by several kinds of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh. ray) gives triangular ailes (wings). Other ﬁsh that feature in soups and sauces. frying and smoking feature in ﬁsh cookery. In a successful au bleu. and. another ﬁsh soup. Bourride. Savory mousses.52
Food Culture in France
or water is added. merlan (whiting). dumplings. imported Atlantic salmon is what is usually eaten. Trout cooked au bleu is poached in spiced. herbs. Because of its famously hideous appearance. It is common to add a few fennel seeds and a shot of anise-ﬂavored liquor such as pastis or some white wine. sprinkled with lemon juice and chopped parsley. sometimes an egg yolk is added to make the sauce richer. moist ﬂesh has long. Other ﬁsh added according to preference include loup de mer or bar (sea bass). and pepper. thon (tuna). grilled. and shellﬁsh. carrelet (plaice). The silky. broiled. Rascasse (Mediterranean rockﬁsh.
Major Foods and Ingredients
Mediterranean sardines are fried or else arranged on grape leaves and vine twigs. and crevettes grises (tiny North Sea prawns) are often paired with a creamy sauce. or else slowly braised. The moules are steamed open in a broth lightly ﬂavored with tomato. an echinoderm having a porcupine-like exterior but yellow-orange lobes that are buttery in texture and sweetly briny. are often lightly smoked. Accras (Caribbean fried codﬁsh balls) have become a popular appetizer and are purchased freshly made from caterers. Étrilles (small crabs) lend excellent ﬂavor to soups. although ostensibly of Belgian origin. This becomes the sauce. The Mediterranean cephalopods are popular quickly fried and served with slices of lemon. Stockﬁsch (dried salted cod) is soaked in water or milk to rehydrate it and reduce the salt. Scallops are quickly seared over high heat or baked in a sauce that is somewhat liquid. langoustines (Dublin Bay prawns) and langoustes (crayﬁsh) appear in cold and in hot preparations. silky huîtres (oysters) and palourdes (clams) are eaten raw on the half-shell and cooked. This delicacy is lightly salted. then baked.
Mollusks such as briny. Moules (mussels) are always cooked. but supplies are purchased from elsewhere. the mashed salt cod is mixed with mashed potatoes or bread crumbs. milk or cream. Rollmops or herring ﬁllets marinated in vinegar are served cold with boiled potatoes. Shell ﬁsh appear in soups and sauces and in stufﬁngs for larger ﬁsh. people use one of the half-shells as a spoon and scoop out the meat from the other mussels. intact but still “stuffed” with spawn. Crustaceans such as crevettes (shrimp) from the North Atlantic. and salt and pepper. For brandade de morue. the fried potatoes are on the side. both oily ﬁsh. such as in creamy bisques. then smoked. Hareng boufﬁ is in fact a whole herring. Calmars or encornets (squid) are also stuffed. then grilled. Reddish. Coquilles SaintJacques and pétoncles (large and small scallops) are sold with the smooth orange roe sac attached to the white cylinder of ﬂesh. While living on the Côte d’Azur. then broiled or served as ﬁllets with green salad. Larger than shrimp but smaller than lobster in size. Pablo Picasso painted the picture Le Gobeur d’oursins (1946) showing a happy eater gobbling (gober) down this delicacy directly from the shell. Harengs (herring) are no longer ﬁshed in French waters. so that the ﬁsh absorb the ﬂavor of the vines. Tourteaux (larger crabs) appear with smaller shellﬁsh and with homard (lobster) on spectacular cold seafood platters. The Mediterranean coast provides oursin (sea urchin). moules-frites is a favorite bistro meal. To eat moules. ﬁrm-ﬂeshed poulpe (octopus) is cut into
. Herring and maquereau (mackerel).
which are ﬁlled up with butter mashed with chopped herbs and garlic. when they were especially popular.
In France. making a highly ﬂavored sauce that can be sopped up with a piece of bread. Southerners used huile d’olive (olive oil) pressed from the fruit grown in their warmer territories. and a miniature fork with sharp tines to spear the snail. In the oven. beef fat) and saindoux (lard. has a deep yellow color and a richly developed
. they are imported frozen from Turkey. Fresh water lakes were the source for frogs during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. North was also distinguished from south by the fat used as a cooking medium. frog legs are served with slices of lemon for garnish. beurre (butter) and other animal fats were to be avoided on fast days. Northerners spoke the langue d’oï l or language of oï l.
BUTTER AND OIL
It used to be possible to distinguish northerners from southerners by the way they said “yes” (oui). Northerners used graisse de boeuf (suet.54
Food Culture in France
pieces for cold dressed salads or braising. the butter melts over the tiny beast. Snails are most often prepared in the typical Burgundian fashion. plates with round concavities stabilize the shells. smooth texture and a slightly ﬁshy ﬂavor. which has a much older tradition of eating frog.6 The cuisses de grenouille have a silky. cuisses de grenouilles (frog legs) are ﬂown in frozen from China. Theoretically.
The grenouilles (frogs) to which the French owe their nickname are indeed widely appreciated.7 The best farmhouse butter. They are cleaned. so they do not roll. while southerners spoke the langue d’oc. Special utensils are used: a rounded tongs to hold the shell steady. associated with the cattle regions of Normandy and Brittany. then replaced in the shells. They are best deep-fried or pan fried. For serving. Today. mounds dating to Roman times attest the long tradition of eating escargots (snails). pork fat) from their animals. as in other parts of Europe such as Italy. Seiches (cuttleﬁsh) are cooked whole. although the Catholic Church granted dispensations to areas where oil was rare and expensive. Like ﬁsh. mollusks found on land.
FRESH CHEESE. degree of acidity. Milk that is ﬂash-treated at 145 degrees C for UHT (ultra-haute température or ultra-high temperature) sterilization can then be stored at room temperature in sealed tetrapacks until opened. CREAM. Mild-ﬂavored huile de colza (canola or rapeseed oil) and huile de tournesol (sunﬂower oil) are domestically grown and the most widely used oils for everyday cooking and for making salad dressings and mayonnaise. while providing protein and. hard sausage. the more healthful unsaturated fats predominate over saturated fat (associated with blood cholesterol increase). Fresh milk in France is pasteurized (heat treated at 75–85 degrees C for 15–30 seconds) or sterilized at even higher temperatures. Butter is spread on bread for a plain tartine and for sandwiches with ham. with its greater use of grains. fruity. especially olive oil. as well. Hot milk is essential to the breakfast
. along with fat-soluble vitamins A and E. It is used in cooking and is indispensable in pastry making. however. Fats and oils carry fatty acids essential to growth and reproduction. Greece. most goat and sheep milk goes into cheese. Butter is associated with distinguished. AND YOGURT
Lait (milk) and laitages (dairy products) have always been much cheaper than meat. olive oil connoisseurship is on the rise. rich cooking. yesterday’s generous use of butter is considered heavy-handed and old-fashioned. France produces olive oil in the South and imports it from Spain. Most milk sold is from cows. By today’s standards. and fruits—France’s local version of the Mediterranean diet. preserving milk over time. Average consumption for olive oil is 1. Italy. and peppery for the green oils.Major Foods and Ingredients
ﬂavor. In liquid vegetable oils. The grades and labels for olive oil reﬂect the pressing (ﬁrst or subsequent). and quality of ﬂavor.6 kg annually and growing8. Milk is drunk plain primarily by infants and children. Olive oil is key to Provenç al cooking. Olive oil varies in color from bright green to yellow and in ﬂavor from lively. Rarer huile de pépins de raisins (grapeseed oil). and Turkey. or cheese. so it is used for deepfrying and pan-frying over high heat. and de noix (walnut) feature in salads and dressings that show off their outstanding taste. and the nut oils are used in baking. Huile de palme or de coprah (palm oil) and huile de soja (soy oil) are used in industrial contexts such as making packaged cookies and biscuits. vegetables. to very mild.
MILK. referred to as la cuisine au beurre (butter cuisine). in the case of cheese. de noisettes (hazelnut). Imported huile d’arachide (peanut oil) is neutral in ﬂavor and has a high smoking point.
akin to sour cream. Each person takes a small slice or triangle of the cheeses. Aged cheeses develop heady odors. the better it tastes. Factory produced cheeses are available in supermarkets. salt. crumbly. Most names for cheese refer to the place of origin. Most yogurt is industrial. Sprinkled with sugar and served with fruit. before the fruit or dessert. the appreciation of cheese is so highly developed that cheese is eaten as a course all its own in a full meal. purées of vegetables and potatoes. Fromage blanc is not technically cheese. Cheese was vital to store milk. Artisanal and farm-house products are usually bought in specialty shops and market cheese stands. it is dessert. and ﬁrm. the curds are beaten to create a smooth texture. a plate of two or three or more cheeses is passed around. and some of the worst olfactory offenders are quite mild in ﬂavor. Garnished with chopped chives. Crème fraîche is slightly fermented. eventually spreading through the Middle East and central Europe. but simply milk that has been curdled. were already attested in Roman Gaul. The tiny round Crottin de Chavignol is named after the Loire village. whether very young and moist. for a snack. Yogurt has been widely eaten in France only since the 1960s. it is the cheese course or the basis of a light lunch. It has numerous uses in cooking. milk is added to soups. or to replace the cheese course. and pepper. although other descriptors are used. Any goat milk cheese. and chicory coffee.56
Food Culture in France
drinks: café au lait (coffee with milk) and hot chocolate. and baked gratins to give them smoothness and body. Cream is beaten into crème Chantilly (whipped cream) and added to soups. such as hard Cantal and blue-veined Roquefort. Fromage blanc is eaten as a sweet or a savory. but crottin (a horse or sheep dropping) is an earthy. like wine and bread. Today. is a chèvre. Goat cheese in a small round disk is called Cabécou. It is eaten at breakfast.
. Some types. People like to joke that the higher a cheese smells. made of sheep’s milk. sauces. This is often true. bought plain or sweetened in individually sized containers. The ﬂat-topped pyramid with a ﬂower of blue mold on the outside is Pouligny-Saint-Pierre. In cooking. is synonymous with France. It is the last savory course. also chicory.
Fromage (cheese). and sauces. or aged. A dollop garnishes desserts made with slightly acidic cooked fruits and cakes that are on the dry side. To conclude a formal or festive meal. Yaourt or yogourt (yogurt) originated near the Black Sea and the Caucasus. humorous reference to its shape. to be eaten with bread and wine.
Red mold cheeses with washed rinds include Époisses. Bleu des Causses. the rind is eaten. These include Brie de Meaux. The family of hard cheeses that includes Gruyère de Comté and Emmental are aged from curds that have gone through an additional cooking process to make them ﬁrmer and dryer. which has a blue-gray layer of wood ash across the middle. Blue mold or blue veined cheeses include the Bleus d’Auvergne. is 75 percent fat.
Semisoft cow milk cheeses with white mold rinds are fromages à croûte ﬂeurie. Pont-l’Évêque. and Roquefort. such as potatoes au gratin and the onion soup famously served at Les
. its more recently invented relative Camembert. named for the food-writer and gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. and Cantal. and colleagues in Saint-Haon-le-Châtel. the square Carré de l’Est. which people eat with a sprinkling of caraway seeds. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact. which can be eaten quite dry. and Saint-Marcellin. creamy Savarin. Tomme de Savoie. and Munster. Pressed cheeses for slicing include sweet-pungent Morbier. but it must be trimmed off the ﬁrm cheeses. Grated hard cheese is sprinkled on dishes that are browned in the oven.Major Foods and Ingredients
Master cheese maker and afﬁneur (specialist in aging cheese) Hervé Mons with goat milk cheeses. which becomes practically liquid when ripe and is eaten with a spoon. For the softer cheeses. goats. Mild.
remove the pan from the heat. Along with proverbs about bread and wine. SPICES. As in many cuisines. one at a time. Remove the pan once again from the heat. and bring to the boiling point. and berries.
HERBS. Place the sheets in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.C. and stir it into the liquid.
Burgundian Baked Cheese Puffs (Gougères) • 1 cup water • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter • pinch salt • 1 cup sifted all-purpose ﬂour • 4 large eggs • 2/3 cup plus an additional 1/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese Preheat the oven to 425° F. leaves the side of the pan. Beat in the eggs. buds. Add the ﬂour. Return the pan to low heat. making sure each egg is absorbed before adding the next one. proverbs about salt abound in France as elsewhere. Serve warm or prick the bottoms with a skewer or sharp-pointed knife to allow the steam to escape and cool on a wire rack. salt has been harvested from Breton palus or paludes (marshes. The term spice usually refers to dried bark. using a wooden spoon. savory puffs called gougères often served as an appetizer.
. and continue to cook until the batter thickens. and coheres into a ball. but they are not spicy. thanks in part to the addition of herbs and spices. and salt in a saucepan.E.. roots. ﬂavor. When the butter has melted completely. salt ﬂats). sel (salt) and poivre (pepper) are the most basic spices in French cooking. The traditional and regional dishes are richly ﬂavored. Atlantic salt is harvested from the Île de Ré and the Guérande peninsula. until the gougères are golden brown and puffy. Grated cheese ﬂavors the light.58
Food Culture in France
Halles marketplace in Paris. Use a pastry bag to squeeze the batter into rings. Since about 700 B. AND CONDIMENTS FOR SAVORY COOKING
Most any home cook draws judiciously on a selection of mild épices (spices) and herbes (herbs) to vary the texture. Sprinkle the additional 1/3 cup of grated cheese on the puffs. and color of foods. place the water. butter. Mix in the 2/3 cup of grated cheese. To make the pâte à choux (puff paste). Spices are often–although not always–of exotic provenance. Many herbs are native to Europe if not to French territory. An herb is usually a leaf. or else use two tablespoons to drop the batter like cookies onto ungreased cookie sheets.
is sprinkled into ﬁsh soups and added to baked goods. Mustard is a condiment for boiled meats. whose heat sets off the fruit. especially any made with ﬁsh. and omelets. like vinegar.Major Foods and Ingredients
and Mediterranean salt comes from Aigues-Mortes. salt was vital to preserve meat. Bright red threads of safran (saffron). and cloves that ﬂavors pâtés and meat dishes. Rustic. or a sausage may be coated with a crunchy hot layer of cracked peppercorns. Saffron adds color to egg glazes for pastry and to butter used in ﬁsh and chicken dishes. Historically. salad dressings. pickles. It ﬂavors sauces. This is used in light-colored dishes such as mashed potatoes and cream sauces. and glazes and dressings for oven-bound dishes such as rabbit or chicken. Removing the external coating of black peppercorns leaves white pepper. and marinades. cold cuts. Whole black peppercorns stud dried sausages. It serves as a cooking medium and to deglaze the pan for meat and ﬁsh sauces. Moutarde (mustard). White pepper is more common in the kitchen than on the eating table. made by the same process. Most vinaigre (vinegar. Coarser sea salts still gray from the presence of marine minerals or ﬂecked with seaweed add a decorative touch along with their special ﬂavors to ﬁnished dishes. sausages. is ubiquitous in the kitchen and on the table. Smooth Dijon mustard is made from milder yellow seeds. Green peppercorns are picked before they are ripe. warm ﬂavor. Quatre épices (four spices) is a standard combination of white pepper. the dried stigmas and styles (female organs) from the Crocus sativus. They balance rich elements such as butter or cream to make sauces for meats. In the Southwest. sour wine) is made from wine that is fermented so that the alcohol converts to acetic acid. then blended with spices and vinegar to form a pungent mixture. Clou de giroﬂe (clove) spices winter fruit compotes. The seeds are crushed or ground. It goes into sauces including vinaigrette (oil and vinegar dressing). nutmeg. then pickled in brine to avoid discoloration. It imparts a yellow-orange color and a clean. Vinegar is a key condiment and cooking ingredient. old-style mustard has in it brownish bits of hull as well as crushed seed. Dishes labeled à la diable (deviled) are seasoned with mustard. sweet summer fruits such as ﬁgs and pears are cooked with pepper. Muscat (nutmeg) and macis (mace) are added to cooked vegetables and sweet egg dishes such as custards. from vin aigre. and it is made from hotter red-brown seeds. grainy.
. cinnamon or dried ground ginger. Common reﬁned ﬂeur de sel (kitchen salt) is what most people keep on hand for cooking and for table use. Cider vinegar. and it is used this way in charcuterie. is also used.
Coriandre (coriander seed) is paired with meat. Poireaux (leeks) ﬂavor soups and sometimes appear in a bouquet garni used for soup. Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs that may include rosemary. Persillade is ﬁnely chopped parsley and either shallots or garlic added to a hot dish just before the cooking is done. GARLIC. the ﬂat-leaf variety is typical in the South. Minced échalottes (shallots) add zest to green salads. cerfeuil (chervil).60
Food Culture in France
Carvi (caraway seed). composed of fresh minced persille (parsley). Vichyssoise is leek and potato soup. Fines herbes. tarragon. is used in pickling and is served with Munster cheese. Sauge (sage) ﬂavors pork and game. and lavande (lavender). native to southern Europe. and ciboulette (chives). AND LEEKS
The Allium genus is all-important for French cooking. parsley is essential in cooking and as a raw garnish. sauces. savory. in pistou (pesto) for stirring into vegetable and bean soups. salad dressings. and genièvre (juniper berry) ﬂavors game and pork. Standard combinations of herbs ﬂavor many dishes.
ONIONS. and sometimes sarriette (savory) and romarin (rosemary). this and a salad of braised leeks with vinaigrette dressing are
. Tarragon ﬂavors lamb and chicken and goes into sauces. along with crushed garlic. salt. marjolaine (marjoram). poaching liquids. Cooking onions very slowly until they are sweet. Curly-leaf parsley appears in the North. estragon (tarragon). Along with tomatoes and olive oil. garlic is ubiquitous in the cooking of the South. go into omelets. soft. thyme. ﬂavored with mashed. is the principal ﬂavoring for pastis and is used in ﬁsh dishes and southern pastries. and olive oil. It ﬂavors roasts and chops as well as chicken destined for baking. Ail (garlic) is roasted. then dropped into broths. and caramelized makes conﬁt or savory jam that accompanies meat dishes. and thyme is used in ﬁsh dishes. SHALLOTS. laurier (bay leaf). and they are the principal ingredient in soupe à l’ognion (onion soup). Bouquet garni includes sprigs of parsley. it tops Provençal pissaladière (onion pizza). The herbs are tied together. By itself. and pots of vegetables to lend ﬂavor in cooking. basilique (basil). and herbed mayonnaise. and whole unpeeled gousses (garlic cloves) accompany chicken roasting in the oven. thym (thyme). associated with German and Scandinavian cooking. Chopped sautéed oignons (onions) combine with carrot and celery as the basis for many dishes. Anis (anise seed). Basil is the primary ﬂavor. salted anchovies. A feuille de laurier (bay leaf) is added to marinades and to pots of beans and lentils. and it is added to southern sauces with a tomato base.
cumin. RICE. A typical Moroccan couscous combines lamb. Sweet couscous prepared
. but the shapes borrow from the Italian traditions. Couscous steams in the fragrant vapors coming up off a stew whose ingredients vary: lamb.
GRAINS. Spicy Tunisian harissa (a paste of red pepper. has become a typical dish. Clermont-Ferrand. and Algeria. ﬁsh. Later. onions. most pâtes eaten in France are made within the country. pumpkin. and olive oil). Courtesy of Philippe Bornier.
the most common preparations. Semolina ﬂour (from hard wheat) and water make a paste that traditionally was rubbed between the hands into tiny balls. and Marseille. and vegetables are all common components. is added at table as a sauce. eaten in the former colonies of Tunisia. greens. Morocco. carrots. crushed garlic. Couscous. turnips. more or less diluted with hot water or broth. and chickpeas. Pasta and noodles are most often boiled and eaten as a side dish for meats. as an herb. AND POTATOES
Of Italian origin. an innovation from the Rhineland.9 Today. pâtes (pasta) seem to have been made in France by northern Jews as early as the eleventh century and in Provence within the next 200 years. the stew is then served with the steamed pasta. seafood. The exception is Alsatian nouilles (egg noodles). PASTA. pasta were made using hard or durum wheat ﬂour in Paris.Major Foods and Ingredients
Braised leeks accompany poached ﬁsh. coriander. Ciboulette (chive) is used both raw and cooked.
Riz (rice) was cultivated in the wet Camargue region from the seventeenth century through the mid-twentieth century. as corn is still thought of primarily as animal fodder. scallions. raisins. although cream of barley. lemon juice. thickens soups and boiled dishes. Rice consumption has more than tripled since the 1970s. and canned corn added to cold salads. and ﬂavorings such as rosewater is a festive dessert. is made into tabbouleh. formerly part of the Italian Piedmont. is now little used in cooking. and spices. the Lebanese salad with olive oil. or bulgur. Orge (barley). Seigle (rye) is used in bread-making and in a few sweet baked goods. cucumber. cider. milk.
Breton Buckwheat Crêpes (Galettes bretonnes or galettes de sarrasin) • 1/2 cup buckwheat ﬂour • 1 cup all-purpose ﬂour • pinch salt • 4 large eggs • 1 1/4 cups apple cider • 1 1/4 cups milk • 1/4 cup water • 1/4 cup unsalted butter. Shortgrained or Arborio rices are made into desserts such as gâteau de riz (rice cake) and puddings. Dried industrial couscous is available. cultivated in Brittany. used in making ale and then beer. tomato. a powder ground from the grain. Long-grained rice is used in cold salads and in side dishes for meat. and melted butter to make a
. chopped parsley. Nice. is the key ingredient for the dark crêpes associated with that region.62
Food Culture in France
with nuts. Épeautre (spelt) goes into Provenç al soups. and now nearly all is imported. The word couscous refers both to the pasta and to the ﬁnished dish. water. borrows the Italian tradition of making polente (polenta) out of cornmeal. and people do steam it alone (without making the stew) to eat as they would pasta of Italian origin. More interestingly. and it has come back into fashion among bakers of organic and whole-grain breads. Blé noir or sarrasin (buckwheat). and related preparations appear in Basque cooking. Cracked wheat. Many people have a couscoussier or couscous steamer in their home kitchens. New World maïs (corn) has been adopted in a very limited fashion. melted Mix or pulse to blend together in a blender or food processor the ﬂours and salt. such as spice breads. Add eggs. Corn is eaten as ﬂakes in cereal.
Boiled or steamed potatoes are eaten in salads or tossed with butter. Brush lightly with butter. Swirl the pan to spread the batter over the bottom of the pan and up its sides (if using a crêpe pan). Turn the crêpe out ﬂat onto a plate or board. Most potatoes presently cultivated and eaten in France are the BF 15. with a ﬁlling or plain. but always removed before cooking or just before serving. sautéed. potatoes) were ﬁrst introduced.” i. Let the batter stand for one hour. Potatoes are sliced and baked. or refrigerate overnight. Fold it in quarters or turn in the edges to make a square. covered. Heat a crêpe pan or large ﬂat saucepan until very hot. Brieﬂy blend or mix the batter once more. the peel is not eaten. then pour in batter to thinly coat the pan (about 1/3 cup of batter for a 12-inch pan). Courtesy of Hervé Depoil.
When exotic New World pommes de terre (“earth apples. and added to stews and soups. pan-fried. and Ratte varieties. Purée de pommes de terre (mashed potatoes) is served as a side dish
Peeling potatoes for cooking.e. No matter what the preparation. Cook about a minute.
. Serve hot. until the crêpe is brown on the bottom and at the edges and set ﬁrm in the middle. they were viewed with great suspicion.Major Foods and Ingredients thin batter. Pommes frites (French fries or fried potatoes) are popular. Bintje. Now it is difﬁcult to imagine French cooking without them.. Makes about 15 crêpes.
Courtesy of Philippe Bornier. Tiny. peas and beans provide complete proteins that contribute to a healthy diet with little meat or none at all. légumes à gousses (pulses) were staples. Potatoes are a mainstay of student cafeterias and other industrial restaurants. Pulses are the edible seeds of pod-bearing plants cultivated for food. Lentils and split peas are often combined with pork. whose ﬂavorful juices they absorb. ﬂatter. Pois chiches (chickpeas) and fèves (fava beans) were particularly important in the southern regions. where they are usually bought frozen and already peeled. and lingots (dried white beans) combine with meat in rich stews such as garbure and cassoulet and marry well with cream and tomatoes. sliced. pulses usually accompany meat or ﬁsh as a separate course or side dish. prepared for cooking. ﬁrm. or dried in powder for purée. green Puys lentils are used in salads and served with salmon.64
Food Culture in France
and may be further elaborated into fried croquettes (puffs). cocos. Chickpeas go into couscous and salads. Dried green beans called haricots verts and chevriers go with lamb. Haricots blancs. Eaten in combination with grain. pale green and yellow varieties go into soups and purées.
In the past. or bacon for ﬂavor.
Fresh green and white beans at the Place des Halles market in Dijon. larger. Today. sausages.
sorrel lends its lemony tang to eggs and ﬁsh. They also appear in some cooked dishes. sometimes garnished with morsels of hot lard. tempestuous raifort (horseradish) is grated and tempered with crème fraîche or unsweetened whipped cream as a garnish for smoked ﬁsh. Small red and white radis (radishes) are dipped in salt and eaten raw along with bread and butter. as well. or puréed. and even fruits such as the tomate (tomato). braised in milk. The composed salads often include cooked vegetables and pieces of cheese or meat. dressed with mustard vinaigrette or with cream. young leaves appear in salads. or meat juice from whatever it will accompany. added to soups and stews. forbidding-looking céleri-rave (celery root or celeriac) is appreciated for its warm celery ﬂavor and versatility. cooked pulses such as lentils tossed with vinaigrette and some sliced onion. carottes (carrots) are eaten cooked. as well.Major Foods and Ingredients
The term légume (vegetable) as used in everyday speech covers several botanical groups: roots. ﬂowers. Vegetables are eaten in savory preparations as side dishes and as individual courses of a main meal. leaves. Curly-leafed chou de Savoie or chou frisé (Savoy cabbage) is stuffed. pine nuts. They feature in sturdy winter soups and stews to which navets (turnips) are usually added. Raw celery root is grated. Among the root vegetables. individually dressed mounds on the plate of crudités. the outer rind is trimmed. which may be a plain tossed lettuce mixture. and raisins as in other areas of the Mediterranean. such as braised with lettuce and peas. Provence’s characteristic vegetable is chard. Narrowly sliced into a chiffonnade (ribbons). Greens such as sour oseille (sorrel) and spicy dark green cresson (watercress) add color and ﬂavor to soups and sauces. and served with slices of salty dry ham. Épinards (spinach) are usually served cooked. The giant. rhizomes. Steamed. and made into a purée or soup. from
. and braised. Chou (white cabbage) is eaten salted or pickled as choucroute (sauerkraut). except when grated and dressed as part of a platter of crudités (composed salad of raw vegetables—a colorful mosaic). carrots form a vegetable course. or a salade composée “composed” from whatever is at hand and attractively arranged on a ﬂat plate. mashed. The French are masters of the salad. and the vegetable is then cut into chunks. In the sweet version of tourte aux blettes (chard tart). although very small. hairy. tender. Grated betteraves (beets) also appear served in discrete. rather than raw. The bulbous. Once it is scrubbed under running water. Salsify or oyster plant (salsiﬁs) is cooked with butter. which is often cooked with olive oil. cream. Horseradish also garnishes boiled meat dishes like pot-au-feu. associated with Alsatian cooking. and they are prominent in soups and stews.
larger ones are cooked whole then served with a vinaigrette or melted butter and lemon as a sauce for dipping the leaves. It is dressed with olive oil and lemon in a salade grècque (Greek salad) with tomatoes or else sauced with cream and chives or mint. or in a blanc or white cooking liquid consisting of boiling water and a bit of ﬂour. Tiny artichauts (artichokes) are eaten raw with salt. with the Provenç al dressing of olive oil. and a dash of Parmesan cheese make a custard that balances the ﬂavor and texture of the vegetable. minced garlic. lemon. however. and sliced. and served with tomato sauce or meat marrow. For plain green salad. eggs. Céleri (celery) is blanched. as in combination with peas. when their cool crunch refreshes the palate. Classical cooking gives methods for cooking concombre (cucumber). pale yellow endives (Belgian endive). composed salads appear now on restaurant menus as ﬁrst courses or on full-sized plates as a main dish. grated apple. Romaine. then add mint and butter or lettuce and cream. and olive oil. or green leaf lettuce is tossed with oil-and-vinegar dressing that may be emulsiﬁed with mustard or ﬂavored with a sliver of garlic or a spoonful of minced shallot. alongside boiled meats. Most often the whole vegetable is steamed or blanched and served hot under a béchamel sauce with ham. and peppery roquette (rocket or arugula). Fennel stalks and leaves are
. braised. They are boiled in salted water. Raw endive leaves add a silky crunch to salad. A few classic preparations call for cooked or braised lettuce. it is most often eaten raw. and it is an ingredient in some tomato sauces. then served with butter alongside roasted or grilled meat. Fleshy fenouil (fennel bulb) is sliced raw to eat with lemon or with a full-ﬂedged dressing for a salad. Fresh laitues (lettuces) mean green salad to most people. They combine with other vegetables in composed salads and appear in soups and purées. Bibb-type lettuce. and anchovy. Petits-pois (fresh green peas) came into fashion in the seventeenth century and have remained popular ever since. Other popular salad greens include scarole. mâche (corn salad or lamb’s lettuce). string beans. lemon juice. Stalky cardes (cardoons) are cooked like artichoke hearts. or French beans) are a favorite vegetable across the country. Classic simple preparations ﬂavor the peas with a small quantity of sugar. A head of lettuce is often referred to simply as une salade (a salad). or cornette (chicory or curly endive). escarole. then dressed with a rich sauce such as hollandaise (based on butter and egg yolks) or served à la bagna cauda. France is the biggest producer in the world of compact. It is also braised or blanched to be eaten cooked. seeded. Haricots verts (fresh green beans. Green salads are served after the main dish in a full meal. The sweet hearts are braised in water.66
Food Culture in France
Nice. powdered sugar.
The aubergine (eggplant). dry Mediterranean climate of the South. Chou-ﬂeur d’Italie or broccoli (broccoli) made its way to France from Italy and is still somewhat less common than cauliﬂower. Courtesy of Philippe Bornier. None are native. It is usually converted to purée or made into a cream soup. and usually requires peeling.
placed under ﬁsh that is grilling to give it ﬂavor. The vegetable is thick. often served with a creamy or eggy sauce such as hollandaise. Zucchini puréed with cream and butter is a side dish that is much appreciated in the summer. White asperge (asparagus). All four are eaten stuffed with meat. rice. sometimes woody toward the bottom. carrots. Zucchini traveled from Italy into France. grown under mounds to avoid exposure to light. the ﬂorettes are fried. cucumbers. or with vinaigrette dressing. Indian eggplant was introduced to Spain during the Middle Ages by the Moors and from there made its way to Italy and France. but it has a mild ﬂavor. but all ﬂourish in the warm. and courgette (zucchini) are workhorses in the French kitchen. Asparagus are steamed or boiled. Tomato halves sprinkled
. Cooked chou-ﬂeur (cauliﬂower) appears boiled or steamed in composed salads. Eggplant is roasted then diced into cold salads.Major Foods and Ingredients
Everyday vegetables in inviting profusion: lettuce. most often it is par-boiled then baked au gratin with milk or cream and grated cheese. poivron (bell pepper). is preferred over green. and cauliﬂower at market. tomate (tomato). or breadcrumbs. Peppers and tomatoes are New World plants that were brought back to Europe in the late Renaissance.
Cook until the eggplant is soft. Stir to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Occasionally it is co-opted for service in egg desserts such as pumpkin ﬂan or pumpkin crème brûlée. watching carefully to prevent them from browning much. light-colored. and cook for 10 more minutes. cut into 1-inch cubes • 2 pounds tomatoes. cold. halved and seeded • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic • 6 sprigs thyme. Sauté the zucchini about 6 minutes until lightly browned. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to heat in the skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. then put in the eggplant. and smooth in texture (about 8 or 9 minutes). Using a slotted spoon.
Summer Vegetable Stew (Ratatouille) • 7 tablespoons olive oil • 1 pound zucchini and/or yellow crookneck squash. and used in couscous. Add the tomatoes. The quartet of vegetables is particularly associated with southern cooking. Pour the last tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. and sauté the onion and garlic about 3 minutes. but not mushy. sautéed in butter. leaves stripped from the stems • 6 tablespoons chopped parsley • 8 tablespoons chopped basil • salt • ground black pepper Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Take the pan off the heat. then sauté the sliced peppers for 5 minutes. Serve hot. transfer to a large bowl. Return all the vegetables in the bowl back into the pan with the tomatoes. or at room temperature. Stir in the rest of the parsley and the basil.
Citrouille or potiron (pumpkin) is made into soups. Simmer for 10 minutes. stir gently to mix. peeled peppers are made into cold salads. and transfer to the bowl. thyme and half the parsley. baked in the oven.68
Food Culture in France
with herbs and bread crumbs and then baked to concentrate the ﬂavors accompany meat. and sliced • 1 eggplant (about 1 pound). The vegetables should be cooked through and tender. Add to the bowl with the other vegetables. seeded. sliced into rounds • 2 green or red peppers.
. as in the summer stew ratatouille. membranes removed. Season with salt and pepper. Strips of roasted.
and cream sauces for pasta. For modest budgets. of the type called champignons de Paris or champignons blonds for their pale. They are cooked into compotes and used to stuff pastries
. At best. and put into soups. mineral ﬂavor and a natural sweetness. but mushrooms must be gathered under the supervision of an experienced person who can distinguish edible ones from poisonous varieties that look similar. braised. Generous quantities of trufﬂes feature in the old aristocratic cuisine and in contemporary elite restaurant cooking. Other varieties are gathered wild. In the past. Trufﬂes are so highly prized that they are called diamants noirs (black diamonds). grilled. pâtés. Trufﬂes are so hard to spot that people train pigs and dogs to sniff them out. Trufﬂes are especially associated with the Périgord. truffes (trufﬂes) grow wild in forested areas.Major Foods and Ingredients
The fungi known as champignons (mushrooms) grow naturally in wooded areas or meadows. Trufﬂe hunters develop an eye for locating patches in forested areas and are notoriously secretive about this information. and they are often cooked in combination with cream and chicken. fried. although the four-legged assistants must be prevented from eating their ﬁnds. Bits of trufﬂe steeped in high-quality oils impart their perfume to salads. Mushrooming is popular in the countryside. golden chanterelles or girolles (chanterelles) do appear in markets. Chicken roasted with slices of black trufﬂe tucked under the skin is called demi-deuil (half-mourning) because of the dark appearance the trufﬂes give the bird.
All but impossible to cultivate.
Fresh fruits are eaten out of hand for a snack and as a sweet course at the end of a meal. creamy color. Although they look like dark chunks of coal or earth. dark. they are quite expensive and fetch high prices on the market. France is now the world’s third-largest producer of cultivated mushrooms. Netted black morilles (morels) and dense. shavings of black trufﬂe are added to excellent effect to omelets. long-stemmed. usually underneath oak trees from which they derive carbonic nutrients and to which they give back mineral salts and other elements. they were also cultivated in caves and abandoned underground stone quarries. they have a rich. where the best ones grow. Mushrooms are sautéed. baked. Eggs delicately scrambled over very low heat with black trufﬂe is a typical treatment.
Hard. and form sauces that accompany pork or game. or baked in wine. The trick is to eat the dessert straight out of the oven. In recent years the New Zealand kiwi has become extremely popular and is now widely cultivated in France. Prunes d’Ente and fat. Prunes (plums) came west to France with Crusaders returning from Syria. poached. and made into tarts and pastries. Green and black ﬁgues (ﬁgs) and grenades (pomegranates) with their ruby ﬂesh have been cultivated for centuries in Provence. these fruits stuff pastries and top cakes. Sweet apples such as the Golden Delicious are eaten out of hand. Apples are sliced into large pieces or quartered. Pommes (apples) are the most popular fruit and account for approximately one-quarter of all fruit eaten. are cooked into compote. Tarte Tatin or upside-down apple tart appears on restaurant dessert menus and is baked at home to end a festive dinner. Its long. Other fruits exotiques (“exotic” or tropical fruits) imported for sale in markets include mangoes and star-fruit. purple-black pruneaux d’Agen (prunes) are a specialty of the Lot-et-Garonne region in the Southwest. and Charentais. These fruits rouges (“red fruits” or berries) also garnish tarts and cakes. then pull the fruit right off the stem with their teeth. They are eaten raw in the late summer when they ripen. and on ﬂat cakes. Soft-ﬂeshed. jewel-like groseilles (red currants) with the ﬁngers. Imported bananes are widely available in shops and nearly always eaten raw. red. Cooked. Poires (pears) are eaten raw. jellies. they are usually served halved. ice cream. Rhubarbe (rhubarb). is treated like the ﬁrm fruits. ices. or cerises (cherries) are placed whole in bowls on the table after a meal in summer for dessert. and candy. a member of the knotgrass family. the tart is turned upside-down to reveal the caramelized apples. preserves. and ice creams. pêches (peaches). Cavaillon. ﬂavor yogurt. framboises (raspberries). myrtilles (blueberries)—are eaten fresh served in small bowls. and pâte de coing (quince paste). Their juicy orange ﬂesh is intensely sweet and ﬂavorful. and people take up sprays of delicate. but most apples are transformed by cooking into pastries and desserts. In the industrial context they are squeezed for juice and puréed or reduced to syrups used to sweeten and ﬂavor yogurt. which is enjoyed as a Christmas sweet. The berries— fraises (strawberries). Raisins (grapes) are a late summer dessert. abricots (apricots). sour coings (quinces). available in the fall. otherwise the crust becomes soggy underneath the apples. After baking. cooked in syrup. and ﬁgs also appear in jams. caramelized by sautéing in sugar and butter. pitted drupes such as nectarines (nectarines) and meltingly sweet brugnons (white nectarines). The most popular melons are the small green-skinned varieties known as Chantal. to be eaten with a
. astringent stems are sliced.70
Food Culture in France
and ﬁll tarts. ﬂeshy. then arranged in a pan with a single layer of short crust on top.
Major Foods and Ingredients
spoon for a summer entrée. Jam is ubiquitous on breakfast tables: strawberry. JELLIES. or both. plus on l’étale (Jam is like intelligence: the less you have. Containers of jewel-like preserves were often exchanged as gifts. apricot. clear preserve from which all berry seeds or chunks of fruit have been strained off. and cédrats (citrons) are candied for use in baking and confectionary. abricoter (“to apricot”) means to glaze a cake or tart with a coating of boiled. and with blue cheeses. and plum are popular ﬂavors to spread on bread for a tartine. Before modern refrigeration and freezing. the word also refers to nuts in general) are used in baking and confectionary and in savory cooking to garnish salads and hot dishes. They pair with poultry and meat. strained apricot preserves. but during the summer people macerate fruit in sugar overnight. raspberry. Compote is a simple dessert of fruits stewed in syrup or wine. and veal. ﬁgs. Pastèque (watermelon) is popular during the summer in the South.
JAMS. Avocats (avocadoes) are technically fruits. such as apples. AND COMPOTES
La conﬁture. prunes. Citrons verts (limes) are used in mixing drinks. they are used in salads and soups. with salads. A gelée (jelly) is a ﬁne-textured. however. quinces. Oranges (oranges) are the most common of the thickskinned citrus fruits. and raisins. chicken.
Dried Isère noix (walnuts. they are sometimes served peeled and sliced as a light ﬁrst course. Preserves have many uses in baking. The lovely sheen on strawberry tarts and other pastries in bakery windows is usually due to an apricot glaze. say the French. Pamplemousses (grapefruit) are usually pressed into juice. Sweet amandes (almonds) are in fact pit fruits related to
. Citrons (lemons) are used in both savory and sweet preparations. Rowanberry and elderberry jellies and gooseberry jam are served with game to temper the headier ﬂavors of the meat. then boil it down the next morning. and they are served as dessert (instead of fruits) during the winter months. Sweet-acid currant jelly is a traditional accompaniment to hot preparations of foie gras. frequently in combination with shrimp and crabs. Most jam is industrial. making preserves ensured that one could eat fruits in some form during the cold winter months. It is prepared from fresh or dried fruits. jellies are also made from decoctions of lavender or from wine. est comme l’intelligence: moins on en a. in cooking they have a special afﬁnity for ﬁsh. the more you spread it around).
When fresh. Noisettes (hazelnuts or ﬁlberts) garnish meat concoctions such as pâtés and are added to hard sausages. in cooking they are often paired with trout. then strewn on salads and used as garnishes. Candied in sugar syrup. worldwide it is second. Hard sugar candy is shaped in molds or else blown like glass from heavy syrup. preserves. the pithy. Salted and left in their shells. colored. the tradition of artisanal confectionary is quite strong in France. and yogurt. France leads the European Union in the production of sugar from sugar beets. sugar is widely used in the food industry as an additive to fruit juices. Berlingots and bêtises de Cambrai are both bonbons with a glasslike appearance typical for ﬂavored. Fresh nutmeats are pale white. Whole chestnuts go into stufﬁng for turkey and combine with cabbbage to make hearty winter braised dishes. Châtaignes (chestnuts) are ground into ﬂour that is used to make bread and cakes. Tiny green pistaches (pistachios) are used like hazelnuts. are nonetheless exquisite. Despite the prevalence of industrial candies. and small. although in smaller quantities than in other European countries.
. The petits-fours or very small cakes known as calissons d’Aix are made of sweetened melon paste and egg white. working with sugar is an art in itself. CHOCOLATE. Today. a milky moistness.
SUGAR. Chocolate is widely consumed in France. biscuits. Few confectioners today make the elaborate sugar sculptures that featured on aristocratic tables in the past. with a crisp texture. As in the United States. with meats and in confectionary. Pignons (pine nuts) are lightly toasted in a pan. if more modest. still-green shells are carved open with a sharp knife. Although most nuts are eaten dried. they accompany an apéritif. Sugar is essential to chocolatiers or chocolate makers. hard sugar candies. AND SWEETS
Sucre (sugar) was long a luxury consumed by the afﬂuent and considered a spice rather than a cooking staple or a food. pastries.72
Food Culture in France
peaches. Contemporary bonbons. perhaps into naturalistic forms such as roses and leaves. they are called marrons glacés and are used in sweet preparations such as chestnut cream. Most chocolate is eaten in the form of the industrial milk chocolate bars available in every supermarket and grocery store. then carved into the typical almond shape. and a sweet ﬂavor. HONEY. fresh hazelnuts and almonds appear seasonally in markets. decorative boxes of hand-made candies such as chewy nougats (made with egg white) or nut pralines (in a crunchy sugar coating) are often given as gifts. The paste is glossed with hard white sugar icing. breakfast cereals.
orange ﬂower honey. Artisanal chocolate makers produce bonbons stuffed with fruits or creams. the result of promotional efforts on the part of chocolate manufacturers. distinctive ﬂavors. ﬂavored with liquors or spices. and ﬂaky. to complex confections made only by pâtissiers. according to the inspiration of the confectioner. After a festive meal. the whole garnished with
. During the late Middle Ages. Pains au chocolat. desserts such as oeufs à la neige or île ﬂottante (eggs in snow or ﬂoating island: egg whites poached in milk and served on crème anglaise or thin custard. mixed with nuts. Residents of rural areas and also many suburban dwellers keep a hive in the garden and collect their own honey. so-called for its spiky appearance. fermented honey drinks were made in Lorraine. raisin-ﬁlled spirals. At breakfast honey is eaten like jam—spread on buttered bread or spooned over plain yogurt for ﬂavor and sweetness. These range from simple. Apiculture or the cultivation of bees for honey is a common hobby that recalls the rural agricultural life of the recent past. For a special occasion such as a weekend dinner or a birthday celebration. which are croissants ﬁlled with chocolate.Major Foods and Ingredients
In recent years. pine honey. and bees were also important as a source of wax to make the votive candles lit in churches. a Lyon specialty is the cocoa-dusted hérisson or hedgehog. and thyme honey are harvested in the South and have delicate. Chocolats come in imaginative shapes. the pastry professionals. Honey gives pain d’épices (spice cake) from Dijon its characteristic ﬂavor and dark color. Metz. better tasting. and it is a traditional ingredient in ginger cakes. Miel (honey) has been a familiar if not widely used sweetener since Celtic and Roman times. and the Vosges. As in the United States. Honey from meadow ﬂowers and crop ﬁelds is the most common. Viennoiseries or ﬁne pastries such as chaussons de pomme or baked apple turnovers. a box of elegant chocolates may be passed around the table as a last morsel to follow coffee.
PASTRIES AND DESSERTS
One of the many seductions of France is the large range of imaginative desserts and pâtisseries (pastries). buttery croissants are eaten at breakfast along with a bowl of coffee or hot chocolate. a basic layer cake with fruits. Lavender honey. brioche. it has become fashionable for cafés to serve a small square of chocolate with their coffees. viewed as more natural. homemade preparations. are a favorite with children. home cooks craft a simple chocolate or pound cake. and of higher quality than the overly sweetened and less saturated mixtures. connoisseurs seek out dark chocolate with a signiﬁcant cocoa content (at least 50 percent).
mousse au chocolat (chocolate mousse).” i. ice cream) differs from American ice cream. During the seventeenth century. and is slightly granular in texture. cooling. which is sweet-sour. invented in 1954 in Paris in honor of the Palais Garnier opera house. are summer ﬂavors. In formal settings. For an elaborate dinner. and the whole is iced with chocolate. arranged in a circle. A bombe is ice cream molded into a round shape. Served in a large. herbs. and a crisp cookie. strawberry. To make an Opéra. being closer to an Italian gelato.
ICE CREAM AND SORBET
Ices and ice creams can be traced to ancient China and were eaten at the court of Alexander the Great and by the Emperor Nero during the ﬁrst century. ices made their way to France via Italy. thinly sliced fruit. and honey. French glace (“ice. a cake or tart will be bought from a pâtissier. a frothy egg cream whisked over a double boiler and ﬂavored with sweet wine such as Muscat). Sorbets and granités or true ices made without any cream. A coupe is an oversized concoction garnished with fruits. sabayon (zabaglione. ﬂavors are based on local fruits.
. and refreshing desserts.e. which soaks up the ﬂavors and colors of the spreads. or produce. The family of frothy cakes that includes the Roussillon and the Framboisine are made from layers of gelées. fruit purée as sauce.74
Food Culture in France
caramel). and nut creams on a light sponge cake. milk. nuts. and raspberry. a tiny quantity of sorbet is served between courses of a meal. Vanilla and chocolate are favorite ﬂavors. or a fruit tart. It contains little cream.. bowl-shaped glass coupe (goblet). it is usually meant to be shared by two people. a thin biscuit is soaked in coffee syrup. Professionally made tarts lined with pastry cream or almond cream and topped with fruits are perennial favorites. people buy cones at street stands and ice cream shops. Small puff pastry balls ﬁlled with cream. A Paris-Brest. to refresh the palate. and restaurants feature coupes de glace and bombes on the menu for dessert. mango and passion fruit. These cakes are ﬁnished with a fruit glaze or jelly to give the outside a transparently colorful liquid sheen. recognizable from the powdered sugar and almonds that decorate the top. but far more elaborate classic confections are widely available in the pastry shops. or eggs are appreciated as light. In the South. hazelnut. butter cream and chocolate cream are spread on alternate layers. is not terribly sweet. then similarly garnished with sauces and fruits. rosemary. such as lavender. During the summer. and garnished with ﬂavored whipped cream or custard sauce make a SaintHonoré. layers puff pastry with almond and hazelnut cream. and pistachio are common.
Until the midtwentieth century. This is simply called un café (a coffee) or a petit noir. connoisseurs appreciate the delicate variety of ﬂavors. which used to be drunk as an inexpensive. ground roots are sold in powders or granules that resemble instant coffee and may be dissolved in hot milk. tea has gained popularity as a breakfast drink. Coffee drunk at mid-morning or in the late afternoon is a pick-me-up. brewed black and green teas were associated with elegant. TEA. spice. The use of eau de ﬂeur d’oranger (orange ﬂower water) and eau de rose (rose water) in pastry-making in the South reﬂects a Middle Eastern inﬂuence that came via Spain with the Moors. the perfume industry centered in Grasse also supplied cooks. as well. less frequently hot water. Green sweet-sour angelica stems. Dark roasted Robusta or Arabica beans are used. TISANES.
. It is drunk at breakfast from the same kind of bowls that adults use for café au lait. today. light afternoon refreshment. and tea may offer other health beneﬁts. taken in the past as medicine. its roasted. similar to Italian espresso. The result is a strong. AND HOT CHOCOLATE
Nearly everybody drinks café (coffee). violette (violet) ﬂavors candy and black tea. most blossoms used in perfumes and ﬂavorings are imported from India and Asia.
COFFEE. in demitasse cups. are candied by repeated dipping into sugar syrup and then carved into attractive shapes. Chicory is a green related to endive. Children may also be given bowls of chicorée (chicory). Café au lait. Vanille (vanilla) is a staple of bakers. after the United States and Germany. is drunk at breakfast. rich-tasting beverage. domestically produced substitute for coffee. Mint is used primarily for tisane and as a ﬂavor for syrups drunk over ice. and whole violet ﬂowers candied in sugar garnish cakes and pastries. In the past. A cup of tea contains far less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Chocolat or hot chocolate is a popular beverage among children. hot milk with strong coffee. Throughout the day and after lunch and dinner. In recent years. and the coffee is brewed with relatively little water. France is the third largest purchaser of coffee beans in the world. and ﬂower ﬂavors are primarily associated with sweet dishes. sipped after the varied ﬂavors of a meal.Major Foods and Ingredients
HERBS AND FLOWERS USED AS SWEET FLAVORINGS
Some herb. coffee refreshes the palette. Orange ﬂower is the distinctive ﬂavor in the sweet version of the yeasted pastries called fougaces. Chicory is naturally nutty and sweet in ﬂavor and lacks the bitterness and caffeine of coffee. This is due in part to health concerns. people drink small cups of black coffee.
Natural or added carbonation is responsible for the bubbles in sparkling mineral waters. although sometimes it is based on almonds. Beloved by children and popular with people of all ages during the summer. and the various decoctions are appreciated for their medicinal properties. Still waters from springs at Evian. orange-shaped bottle. The ﬂavors of spring waters vary according to their mineral content (or the lack thereof) indicated on the bottle label.11 General preference runs to drinking water that is cool or room temperature. During meals. and other imported beverages are easy to ﬁnd. Fluorine. sweet. and sodium are other common mineral elements in spring waters. Volvic. not cold or iced. Contrex. Orgeat is barley syrup. Liter-sized bottles of water are available at grocery stores and corner stores. Some small towns. Infusions are taken before bed or as an after-dinner hot drink instead of coffee.76
Food Culture in France
A tisane or infusion is a made from a dried ﬂower or herb such as verveine (verbena). Waters with high mineral contents are appreciated for their healthful properties. heavily concentrated syrup with a distinctive fruit or herbal ﬂavor is mixed with water to make a refreshing drink. so that glasses may conveniently be reﬁlled. Coke. The most distinctive is Orangina.
SODA AND SYRUPS
Soda is everywhere available. easily spotted in its squat. despite its name. such as calcium for bone health. along with a few French sodas. and Vatel are popular. guimauve (mallow). A small quantity of thick.
. a pitcher or carafe of tap water or a bottle of spring water is placed on the table. still have public fountains that antedate the installation in homes of ﬁltered running water. particularly in the South. potassium. giving the false impression (shared by many of the French) that tap water is never drunk. and they are often ordered in cafés. Fanta. Grenadine (pomegranate) and cassis (black currant) are well-loved ﬂavors. or menthe (mint) steeped in hot water. More typical than soda are sirops (syrups). such as Badoit and Perrier. Sodas and syrups are not drunk with meals. although it is not consumed on the same scale as in the United States. In fact. They are given to the sick. une menthe à l’eau— green mint syrup and water—is cooling in hot weather. tap water is the most commonly drunk liquid in France10 and may safely be consumed throughout the country.
Spring waters are heavily marketed. but as a refreshing beverage for the late afternoon.
Since the sixteenth century. They ﬂavor sauces. For centuries. Most distilled liqueurs were originally concocted as medicines. In cooking. also ﬂavored with anise and fennel. a handful of industrial breweries in Alsace. the bubbly fermented apple juice that is mildly alcoholic (4. beer was an important source of food calories for northern Europeans. Pernod and other anise liqueurs became popular in the nineteenth century. in the countryside of the Northwest. Pastis.Major Foods and Ingredients
BEER AND CIDER
Cervoise (ale) antedates wine in France and can be traced back to the Gauls. people had begun to add medicinal hop blossoms to ale. and beer consumption is heaviest in this region and along the Belgian border.
BRANDIES AND LIQUEURS
Eaux-de-vie (fortiﬁed alcohols or distilled liqueurs) are drunk as apéritifs and digestifs (before. beer is an ingredient in the beef stew carbonade and in some ﬁsh stews. The hops give the characteristic bitter ﬂavor and act as a natural preservative. Cider is consumed on a much smaller scale than wine or beer. produce most of the French beers. Absinthe is quite bitter and has to be sweetened with a cube of sugar. a shot of grenadine syrup is added. Today. and the government banned the sale of absinthe
. when they were marketed as a substitute for absinthe (absinthe).5 percent alcohol by volume). Liqueurs have been manufactured in France since the distilling process was brought back from the Middle East during the Crusades. By the end of the eighth century. there it rivals wine in importance. Cidre (cider) in France is what Americans call hard cider. or toasted. and the Maine. For a bubbly red Monaco. making true bière (beer).and after-dinner drinks) and have many uses in cooking. The problem was that it contained wormwood (Artemesia absinthium). Excessive consumption and bad quality mixtures produced unfortunate effects. stewed dishes. not to mention for its magical transformative powers. Ale is malt. when new varieties of apples and cultivation techniques were brought from Spain. an ancient tonic that is also potentially toxic. such as Kronenbourg and Météor. apples and cider have been typical of Normandy. La fée verte (the green fairy) was so called for the milky green color it assumes when mixed with water. A panaché is a summer drink made of beer mixed with lemonade. and desserts and are f lambéed for a dramatic presentation. Most is drunk near where it is made. germinated barley that has been fermented with yeast and water. Brittany. By far the most popular liqueur is anise-ﬂavored pastis.
1980). as the monks concocted them for use as medicines. Adding grenadine makes a pink-red tomate or “tomato. popular cocktails.
. known in this circumstance as a trou normand. where gardens with fruit trees are common. people still concoct their own brandies by soaking fruits such as pears or plums in a neutrally ﬂavored alcohol. originally from French-speaking Switzerland. in Charles Baudelaire. before dinner. Calvados or apple brandy is beloved in the apple-growing regions of Normandy. The bitter ﬂavor of Suze. and oats. Orange-ﬂavored Cointreau and Grand-Marnier were invented in the mid–nineteenth century.” “Le vin des chiffoniers. Unlike its lethal ancestor. however. Most of the herbal liqueurs have monastic origins.” “Le vin du solitaire. 1808). pastis is regarded as having a beneﬁcial effect on health. Among after-dinner drinks. It is drunk mixed with chilled water. but owes its ﬂavor to a strong infusion of juniper berries. A clear light brown by itself. Conveniently. 14. In the countryside. by commercial distillers. not the American mixed drink. 76–81. pastis turns a light milky yellow when mixed with water. l’heure du pastis—time for a sociable pastis—is practically any hour of the day: before lunch.” Les Fleurs du mal (1857). it is a mark of respect and a gesture of friendship to offer a guest a glass of house-made brandy. barley. The theory goes that the small glass of apple brandy. for instance. narrow. pastis and other anise mixtures were available. Most liquors draw their distinctive ﬂavor from an herb. Le Manuel des Amphitryons (Paris: Cappelle et Renand. In the Midi. Vermouth is based on grapes. comes from gentian roots that have soaked in eau-de-vie. Pastis-and-water is the basis for a handful of simple. to promote digestion and help eaters make their way through a particularly rich repast.” and “Le vin des amants. 2. Mixed with mint syrup. opens up a “hole” (trou) so that you can eat more. but ﬂavored with herbs and spices. the green drink that results is a perroquet (parrot). root. Grimod de la Reynière. Suze is drunk over ice and mixed with sparkling water from a tall. Bright yellow or green Chartreuse was developed by a Carthusian sect. notably by soothing the stomach and intestines.
1. classic Cognac is the most famous grape brandy.” “Le vin de l’assassin. Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Robert Laffont.78
Food Culture in France
in 1915. A shot of Calvados is sometimes drunk between courses during a meal. “L’Âme du vin. un Martini in France is a before-dinner glass of herbﬂavored vermouth. or fruit. straight-sided glass.” The addition of barley syrup gives a Mauresque or Morisco. Gin is based on rye. in the late afternoon.
“L’huile d’olive. Schafer. Gilbert Garrier.
. Pasta. Edward H. Chang (New Haven: Yale University Press. 4. 7. 111. 1977). “T’ang. 47. L’agriculture et la maison rustique. trans. un ‘or jaune. Antony Shugaar (New York: Columbia University Press.” in Food in Chinese Culture: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. preface by Pierre Troisgros (Paris: BPI. Technologie culinaire. 281.” L’Histoire 85 (1986): 109. xiv. Silvano Serventi. 179.Major Foods and Ingredients
3. C. 16. 1999). Michel Maincent. editor K. 131. 1990). 2002). 11. 1570).’” Le Monde (May 24. 2006). Didier Nourrisson. Histoire sociale et culturelle du vin (Paris: Larousse-Bordas. 1995. Le Livre du foie gras (Paris: Flammarion. 5. 8. Jean-Louis Flandrin. 1998). 18. Silvano Serventi and Françoise Sabban. 10. French translation by Jean Liébault (Paris: Chez Jaques Du-Puys. Charles Estienne. “Et le beurre conquit la France. 2002). Le Buveur du XIXe siècle (Paris: Albin Michel. 9. 6.
The roles of professional cooks are diverse. economical plats mijotés (slow-cooked dishes).270 square yards) of selling space. From the kitchen garden. The transition from a largely agricultural way of life to a fully modern urban and suburban one was completed in the last century. cooking has become an assembly process where employees carry out simpliﬁed. not to mention the oversized hypermarché. and of course the cook. before the war. At the end of the Second World War. In elite restaurants.500 square meters (about 1.000 to 2. and most food shopping is done at commercial chain supermarchés (supermarkets).3
Elements that shape cooking practices include available ingredients. In fast-food eateries.
As in other urban consumer societies. executive chefs are astute managers as well as gastronomic high priests and food designers. kitchen technologies. they had fought tooth and nail to curb
. the French acquire nearly all provisions in stores. as conservative shopkeepers sought to shield themselves from competition. most food shops were specialized and expensive. home cooks have moved into the small shop and the supermarket. as well as time pressure and busy schedules have contributed to the rise of fast-cooked foods as rivals to old-style. deﬁned as having 1. Efﬁcient stoves and the taste for lighter foods.308 to 3. highly rationalized preparations. Price-ﬁxing was common. This is a recent innovation.
As Leclerc grew his ﬁrst store and then opened other outlets. Leclerc had to write to the federal government to defend himself. and milk or juice in sealed tretrapacks or bricks that can be stored at room temperature until they are opened. bread. canned goods. a store that stocked a wide variety of competitively priced comestibles was revolutionary if not actually heretical. fresh from a decade of schooling in Jesuit seminaries. His outraged colleagues. In the interest of maintaining commercial diversity and protecting the small shops. then reselling them at a full 25 percent below the shop prices. The fancier stores have specialty counters such as for fresh ﬁsh. like fast-food restaurants. legal limits have been imposed.2 As in the United States. Sealed containers of fresh fruit salad kept under refrigeration are meant to be sold and eaten within a few days. and ready to eat. In most towns where an Auchan or other big store opens. sterile or Americanized way of life. In 1949. Today. such as the ban on building an hypermarché within city limits in Paris. cooked. the young Édouard Leclerc began buying large quantities of groceries directly from factories and producers.82
Food Culture in France
the growth of cooperative magasins à succursales (chain stores). some associate the large chains. A recent trend for commercial supermarkets and the food industry is to marry the appeal of fresh items with the convenience of food that is prepared. A chain of supermarkets that is unique to France sells only surgelés (frozen foods). turned belligerent.1 In this atmosphere. with an impersonal. packaged. however. supermarchés stock perishables as well as items designed for long storage such as dried pasta. Fresh potatoes that are peeled. the French more than any other European population frequent not just supermarchés but also hypermarchés or grande surfaces (superstores). Nonetheless. whose discounts hardly differed from small shop prices. By the 1960s.270 square yards). ever on the lookout for bargains and a favorable rapport qualité-prix (quality-price ratio). It was in these circumstances that the ﬁrst of the modern domestic commercial chains got its start.500 square meters (about 3. In addition to packages of ﬂash-frozen vegetables or fruits and containers of ice creams
. This practice made a hit among his neighbors in Landerneau (Brittany) as they shopped for dinner. the small shopkeepers. small shops close. he had to do battle with urban department stores such as Monoprix and Prisunic. self-service supermarkets had become prevalent and Leclerc’s practices the norm. and discounters (discount stores). and the Ministère des Finances (Ministry of Finance) took the opportunity to afﬁrm the illegality of price-ﬁxing. deﬁned as having selling space greater than 2. and wine. then sealed in plastic can be added directly to a dinner dish as it heats up.
Guild rules limited what a merchant could sell. Courtesy of Janine Depoil. the shops are usually located in the town center. and pâtés at the boucher-charcutier Lavigne in Montceau-les-Mines. royal statutes and guilds or corporations structured the manufacturing and retail sectors of the economy. these stores sell items such as appetizers that can be quickly prepared by heating in the oven and tart shells to be ﬁlled with fruits for dessert or with a savory ﬁlling to make a hot lunch. but also gave the merchant an effective monopoly in that particular line of business. The old rules are
Sausages. charcuterie (shop for cured meats. boulangerie (bread shop). especially hams.
. In villages and small towns. and other pork products). the boulangerie has long been an institution even in villages. The specialty shops recall that through the eighteenth century. sausages. hams. bread being practically a synonym for life itself. rows of different kinds of food shops cluster together. In city neighborhoods. terrines.
Small specialty stores such as the fromagerie (cheese shop). and pâtisserie (pastry shop) recall older shopping traditions. As relatively few households had ovens until the midtwentieth century.Cooking
M. Shopkeepers slice ham to order. Those who regularly frequent such stores often refer not to the shop itself. Here specialty shops struggle to survive or have disappeared entirely. Pharmacies alternate night shifts against medical emergencies. Similarly. As middle. At this end of the economic spectrum. it is understood. specialty shops run by traiteurs or caterers. For the shopper ﬁlling a basket with provisions. who. but
. may be relied on for his expert knowledge in the matter of ﬁsh.
STORE AND SHOP HOURS
Until as recently as the 1980s. and bag produce. connoisseurs with the means for leisure spending further extend their shopping circuits to venues formerly frequented largely by food professionals. Most small shops are not self-service. especially outside of the densely populated cities and in small towns. the small shops now offer access to products perceived as high quality and of reliable provenance. Interaction between the customer and the shopkeeper is required for the purchase to be transacted. By earlier norms.M. but boutiques cultivate the aura as well as the practice of specialization. or supervise the shopping and cooking. although fruits and vegetables are displayed in open bins. but to the person who runs it. until 11 P. as well as upscale supermarkets. One may make a trip chez mon poissonnier (“to my ﬁsh seller’s”). In afﬂuent areas.and upper-class women entered the workforce and the professions in larger numbers. in the bourgeois classes the woman of the house remained at home and could shop and cook.3 The picture is quite different for less afﬂuent areas. Food items are displayed behind glass or on shelves behind a counter. Supérettes (convenience stores with selling space measuring 120 to 400 square meters. or about 157 to 523 square yards) and corner stores may remain open later still. sell prepared dishes that are ready to eat. or midnight. during the day. or praise a bottle discovered through mon caviste (“my wine seller”). shop hours followed those of the business day. It is considered rude to walk in to a small specialty food store simply to look around. Now most supermarkets and small shops keep evening hours. a strategy opposite that of the generalist supermarket. Private attendance at annual or seasonal food and wine expositions and trade shows increases yearly. this schedule became inconvenient and impractical.84
Food Culture in France
no longer in place. remaining open until 7 or 8 P. one refers to the good vegetables chez mon marchand de légumes (“at my grocer’s”). replaced by supermarkets that sell products more cheaply. recommend cheeses to be eaten the same day or two days later.
An ultra-modern supply chain provisions the market. and cheeses for sale at outdoor markets are identical to those in the supermarkets. Rungis is a wholesale market open to professionals and retailers such as restaurant chefs and grocers. and imports are ﬂown in daily from Israel. swallowing up the lives of the individuals whose work there keeps the rest of the capital alive. The heart and soul of food shopping dwell in the smaller retail markets. Benin. The stroll through the outdoor market is an end in itself.Cooking
other stores do not stay open round the clock. Meats have been hung to develop their ﬂavor and tenderness. the market is the rapacious gullet and grumbling gut of the city.4 Yet the notion that markets offer the best local items directly from a farmer or producer is not always wrong. the market relocated to Rungis. Turkey. In the 1960s. rivalries among merchants who compete for customers.
The daily. At a good market. During the late nineteenth century. Food shopping is part of the business of the day. the fresh perfume from the ﬂower stands. a special rich odor hangs in the air. Fruits are at the peak of ripeness. La cuisine du marché (market cooking) implies taking inspiration from seasonal ingredients. the rank stench that pervaded the ﬁsh and the meat sections by the day’s end in summer—the ﬁrst modern refrigeration technology was still in its infancy and it was not yet widely available. Ironically. Beyond access to fresh foods. In Le Ventre de Paris (The Belly of Paris. French cooking in general and la cuisine du marché in particular seek to bring out or improve the inherent features of good ingredients. driving cattle before them or carrying heavy baskets of provisions to sell. 1873). China.
. to expand while easing urban trafﬁc congestion. weekly. it is these elements of market culture that draw crowds. Morocco. in some instances. and the market is a place to see and be seen. Zola documents in fascinating detail the nocturnal march that country dwellers made to arrive in the city by early morning. the produce. south of Paris. Today. Truckloads of domestic produce arrive every morning. outdoor marketing offers possibilities for socializing and a picturesque experience. meats. or weekend outdoor marchés (markets) in cities and towns can be traced through medieval trade and monastic fairs and to the marketplaces established in Gaul by the Romans. Cheeses have been fully aged under proper conditions of temperature and humidity. the novelist Émile Zola “scientiﬁcally” described the sprawling Parisian market located for centuries at Les Halles. As much as the opportunity to buy edibles and ingredients. and other locations.
The education of women including higher education. nostalgia centered around food and cuisine de ménage or cuisine familiale (home cooking) tends to have an association with women. serve the apples with cream or a scoop of ice cream. If desired. You may need to baste and turn the apples once or twice to make sure they are coated with syrup. and gently simmer for about 5 minutes. they recall “my mother’s” version of a dish as the very best. If no vanilla bean was used. then reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. apple cider. and quarter the apples. cover the pot. Add the apples.86
Food Culture in France
COOKING AT HOME
Cooking at home. In a saucepan. Particularly in younger couples. Grate a dash of nutmeg over each serving. and comforting. add vanilla extract. into the home kitchen as cooks and nurturers for their families and households. Take the pot off the heat.
Stewed Apples (Compote de pommes) • 6 large apples. such as the simple home dessert compote de pommes. preferably a ﬁrm cooking variety such as Granny Smith • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice • 1/2 cup water • 2 cups water. or white wine • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar • pinch salt • 1 2-inch piece of a vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 2-inch cinnamon sticks • 2 whole cloves • nutmeg Mix the lemon juice and 1/2 cup water in a bowl. the entry of women into the professions. and cloves. dipping each section brieﬂy into the lemon mixture to prevent discoloring.
. vanilla bean (if using). When people reminisce. salt. The phrase la cuisine grand-mère (grandmother’s cooking) describes dishes that are thought to be old-fashioned and soul-satisfying. however. hard apple cider. cinnamon sticks. until the apples are cooked but still intact. Bring the syrup to the boil. like housework and childcare. and contemporary notions of gender equality have brought men. Peel. the tasks—or pleasures—of cooking and food shopping are likely to be shared. sugar. core. as well. familiar. Allow the apples to cool in their syrup. was long the province of women. combine 2 cups water (or cider or wine).
tradition. Bread is almost never made at home. such as ﬁsh in ﬁllets. however. although it is a part of nearly every meal. is more varied and experimental. Basic kitchen equipment and a dining table with chairs are among the very ﬁrst items that a young person or couple setting up house will buy. Men uncork wine bottles. yogurt. and carve roasts. Other staples of the kitchen and table purchased ready-made include jams. Until quite recently. used primarily as references for proportions or methods. and technical competence are balanced by any number of outside inﬂuences. the economical. Supermarkets sell items suited to the fast cooking methods. Today. coming from the kitchen. budget. The repetitions imposed by time. Home cooks take advantage of fresh preparations from specialty shops. and the mustard that is ubiquitous in vinaigrette dressing for salads and as a condiment for meats. Ready-made. a cake may be bought from a pâtissier. and semi-prepared elements further facilitate the task of cooking and serving meals at home. bring in fresh plates for the next course. cooking remains a central feature of home life. Cooking technology. and carry in food from the kitchen. participation in the family meal still often relies on the performance of roles that remain deﬁned by gender. cheese. steaming (for vegetables). afﬂuence. and time pressures factor into this trend. Breakfast pastries such as brioche and croissant are purchased from the boulanger or pâtissier. prepared. slow-simmered soups or stews of past centuries have largely been replaced by quick dishes. despite the prevalence of eating out.
FAST COOKING AND SHORTCUTS
In home kitchens. For a holiday or birthday celebration. A written recipe often consisted of only a few words jotted on a scrap of paper or in a family book as an aide-mémoire (prod to the memory). charcuterie. meats in ﬁllets and chops. and produce that can be eaten raw in salads. and pressure cooking are the preferred methods. In addition to preparing meals. The continuity and sense of tradition that marked these practices corresponded to repetition. from televised cooking shows to the wide variety of domestic and imported foods in stores. baking for items that do not require long exposure to heat. A family’s entire kitchen library consisted of one or two basic printed cookbooks. reﬁll water and wine glasses. such as
. Home cooking today. female family members are likely to stack up used plates and carry them away from the table. personal taste.Cooking
Regardless of professional accomplishments that women realize outside the home. recipes were transmitted within families primarily as cooking techniques. Searing or sautéing.
home-cooked main dish. one simply spoons the ﬂavored meat into hollowed-out tomatoes or zucchini. then sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. and remaining olive oil together in a saucepan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. which became standard in France in the 1950s. The stove has evolved in a particularly dramatic fashion. Before serving. seed. tomato. sprinkle the whole ﬁsh or each serving with chopped parsley. one cooked over a brazier or else in pots suspended above an open ﬁre that vented through
. and lay out ﬂat in a baking dish. Stir the onion. Pour in the wine. Coat the ﬁsh thoroughly with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Baked Cod with Tomatoes (Cabillaud à la portugaise) • 2 pounds fresh cod ﬁllets • salt • pepper • 1/3 cup olive oil • 1/3 cup chopped onion • 4 medium tomatoes • 3 cloves garlic. Bake 25 minutes. simple preparation but lively ﬂavor describe this typical recipe for baked ﬁsh with a tomato sauce. then taste and season with salt and pepper. Drop the tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds to facilitate peeling. add the sugar. As in any western kitchen.
TOOLS IN THE HOME KITCHEN
The efﬁcient. and dice them. until the onion and tomato soften and the sauce thickens. Similarly. garlic. Pour the tomato sauce over the ﬁsh. then peel. Minimal fuss yields a fresh. then gives the stuffed vegetables a quick turn on the stove in an inch of liquid or pops them into the oven. At home. rationalized kitchen that is typical became so only during the last half-century. In rustic dwellings having no separate room for cooking. the central features are running water. loose raw sausage meat or ground pork with spices or herbs. crushed • 1/2 cup dry white wine • 1/2 teaspoon sugar • 6 sprigs parsley. and a modern stove. chopped Preheat the oven to 350° F. an easy plat (main course) for a summer lunch or dinner.88
Food Culture in France
a butcher’s mixture of fresh.
common gadgets in home kitchens include coffee makers.Cooking
the roof. Their engineering and design reﬂect contemporary interest in safety. and energy conservation. although wealthy families purchased Frigidaires. Dishwashers and range vents above the stove are prevalent. By the end of the eighteenth century. The 1850s saw the invention of the gas stove. and released fewer particulate pollutants. By the seventeenth century. metal stoves came to include multiple ovens with individual access doors. Recent innovations such as smooth ceramic stovetops and plaques à induction (magnetic induction cooktops) that do not retain heat when no cooking is in process double as countertops. In addition to the top range. A réfrigérateur or frigo (refrigerator) has been standard since the late 1960s.or tile-covered fourneaux (“furnaces”) slow simmering and stewing in pots on the stovetop. Congélateurs (freezers) are less common. ﬁres in chimneys in the great houses conveniently supported spit roasting. hand-held plunge mixeurs (blenders) that convert vegetables into soup. Beyond the major appliances. Fours à micro-ondes (microwaves). where space comes at a premium. and la vaisselle (dishes) complete the equipment in the home kitchen. aesthetics. The four (oven). Today. have been popular since the 1970s. cast iron and other metal stoves became available. self-contained electrical steamers for vegetables. both gas and variations on the electrical stove—efﬁcient for slow cooking—are prevalent in home kitchens. allowed easy control over the cooking ﬂame. often separate from the stovetop. even a simple or modest kitchen has connections for the full range of appareils électroménagers (appliances) now considered basic and essential. The multipurpose surfaces are appreciated in city apartments. Ustensiles or petits outils (utensils). and brick. made by General Motors. and. Situating the ﬁre on a hearth against an exterior wall and venting through a chimney imposed a sense of containment.
. suburban dwellers with spacious houses may have a larger refrigerator with a substantial freezer section and keep a separate deep freezer in a basement or garage. Accomplished amateur cooks prize restaurant-grade appliances such as oversize gas stoves that throw powerful ﬂames. food processors. as well as in cooking as such. The gas stove avoided the burden of stocking wood or charcoal. an offshoot of radar technology developed in the United States during the Second World War. as early as the late 1920s. is usually electric. Electric stoves with burner disks or coils that come to temperature became common in the 1960s. beaters. which became widely available in the 1930s. la batterie de cuisine (pots and pans). Today. This modiﬁcation facilitated baking and the simultaneous preparation of multiple dishes. recently.
the various regions are known for their local styles. basil leaves and olive oil. over which one slides vegetables. poaching. Poêles and sauteuses (pots and pans) are used for boiling. and râpe (grater) complete the basic kitchen tool kit. and beat ingredients in mixing bowls or in pots or pans. such as decorative Quimper ware from Brittany. Many people use the mandoline. some cooks insist that the only way to make good pistou (pesto for stirring into vegetable soup) is by hand using a mortier et pilon (mortar and pestle). and impermeability to stains and odors. tartes. dessert plates. raclette (scraper). However. Since the importation of porcelain from China and the efforts of Louis XIV to promote luxury industries. silicone supplement the wooden spoons. silicone is becoming ubiquitous in the kitchen for ﬂexible kneading and baking surfaces. cutting. although it is often weekend cooks and connoisseurs who take the time to use them. shallow soup plates with a wide diameter and deep ﬂat rim. The whirling blades of a food processor or blender produce an unattractive mixture that is too uniform in texture. Early experiments with pressure cooking date to the seventeenth century. gives the desired consistency and subtly blends the strong perfumes. recently. and paring are essentials. or grated. and surfaces for chopping. These implements are designed to last for decades. A fouet (whisk). a variety of couteaux (knives). Sturdy enameled cast iron pots for simmering soups and stews over a steady heat and for baking in the oven are appreciated. passoire (colander). By contrast. toss. the marmite à pression or autocuiseur (pressure cooker) became popular only after the Second World War.90
Food Culture in France
Despite the capacities of electrical food processors. Newer utensils made of hard plastic and. crushing together garlic cloves and salt. The cocotte is still appreciated for these qualities. Home cooks use porcelain and stoneware dishes to bake gratins. or cheese that must be scored. in addition to utensils. durability. and it is a feature of many kitchens. including commissioning the Sèvres manufacture. fruits. spatule (spatula). sliced. smaller plates for amuse-bouches (appetizers). and after-dinner coffee cups. mix. With its extraordinary ﬂexibility. and trivets. heat resistance. For centuries wooden and metal spoons have served to stir. julienned. and searing. France has been known for elegant china. when the Cocotte-Minute was marketed for fast cooking and energy efﬁciency. Equally typical rustic glazed terra cotta is found in the South. sautéing. angled surface holding multiple blades. braising. cake molds. In sets of
. a couteau économe (peeler). and other preparations destined for the oven. frying. In the South. a ﬁrmly anchored. Sets of plates usually include the typical hemispherical breakfast bowls for café au lait in addition to ﬂat dinner plates.
They replace the baccalauréat (high school diploma) earned at the end of (in American terms) thirteenth grade.or three-year technical course. nineteenth-century chefs made signiﬁcant efforts to improve their working lives. For restaurant owners. The BEP or Brevet d’études professionelles and the CAP or Certiﬁcat d’aptitude professionelle for cooking are the vocational diplomas for two-year programs taken at the end of high school. By the century’s end. thus professionalizing the work of cooking. forks are designed to be attractive from the back. chefs train both in cooking schools and through modern apprenticeships. whether chefs de cuisine (executive chefs) or cuisiniers (line cooks).
Professional or career chefs. winning little recognition and minimal remuneration for long hours in dangerously hot. Few chefs achieved independence or autonomy with the rise of the restaurant in the eighteenth century. Cooking exhibitions and competitions that showed off cooks’ talents multiplied. that follows the baccalauréat. preparing sauces. The cooking schools initially struggled. Despite many obstacles. and restaurateurs opposed them. cooks united to form mutual aid societies. the culinary profession began to come into its own. Restaurants and job opportunities multiplied during the nineteenth century. The lowliest apprentice scoured pots and washed dishes before being promoted to chopping vegetables. A BTS or Brevet de technicien supérieur is a more advanced two. it was cheaper to exploit the old system of apprenticeship than to hire relatively demanding cooking school graduates. the new institutions were issuing diplomas for students ﬁnishing their three-year programs. have with few exceptions been men. Opinion is divided as to whether a lengthy apprenticeship and a series of stages (shorter periods of training) under reputable chefs in good restaurants
. and cooking. Nonetheless. Boys and young men learned the cooking trade through apprenticeship. and one had to work one’s way up from the very bottom. Trade and professional journals emerged that were written by and for the chefs. The grand cooking that evolved in aristocratic houses and that underpins elite cooking in today’s ﬁne restaurants was carried out by individuals regarded as little more than servants. for instance in foodservice. Paid cooks have long toiled in the worst of conditions. The ﬁrst cooking school was established in 1881. as the tines of the fork face down on a set table. smoky kitchens.Cooking
silverware or stainless steel ﬂatware. Today. but most cooks worked under a maître d’hôtel who managed the establishment or else they reported to the propriétaire or restaurateur (owner) himself. In the 1840s.
a handful of enterprising chefs took the step of buying their own restaurants gastronomiques (high-end restaurants). The media favor a glamorous vision of the elite culinary world. along with their students and graduates. Rather. The award is quite prestigious. such as pâtissier or boulanger. and the use of relatively modern kitchens. business. who assume the rigors of restaurant work as a way to establish themselves within the country. Being a cook requires long hours of manual labor. more reasonable hours. which privileges the liberal professions and professional courses. At the same time. many bistros and restaurants serving traditional.92
Food Culture in France
or a diploma from a respected hotel or culinary school offers the better entrée to a career. some chefs have redeﬁned their roles within commercial restaurants and a few achieved spectacular public success. By contrast. One expert calculates a deﬁcit of cooks in the tens of thousands. professionals or salariés such as teachers and ofﬁce workers earn a yearly salary and beneﬁts. Because cooking school curricula are practical. and it is difﬁcult to ﬁll jobs for cooks in casual restaurants and other everyday commercial contexts.5 Cooking and hotel schools. with few days off each year. or regional foods are operated by immigrant families. In 1951. a group of owner-manager chefs formed the Association des Maîtres
. the majority ﬁnd employment in school.6 A talented baker or other food producer who wins one of the widely recognized competitions is named Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Worker in France) in his category. such situations bring higher salaries. To work as a chef is punishing. the term ouvrier reminds the winner that he is a laborer as well as an artisan.8 There is a perception that the opportunity for creative cooking is limited in these contexts. however. local. After the Second World War.
In the last few decades. Yet despite the respect for craft and appreciation for quality. they now managed and became principal ﬁnancial stakeholders.7 and most paid cooks do not work in commercial restaurants at all. graduates and most chefs are qualiﬁed as service workers and earn an hourly wage or contract fees. in military mess halls. Inherent difﬁculties in the profession have not changed much over the centuries. have a relatively low status within the Éducation nationale (national education system). a more predictable workload. where the use of semi-prepared products often moves the food toward an industrial model. prison. It is signiﬁcant that at present. relative to typical commercial restaurant work. In addition to cooking. Winners proudly post it in their shop windows. and in retirement homes. and hospital cafeterias. Most restaurant cooks do not own the establishments in which they work.
For chefs. In 1953. the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (National Institute for Agronomic Research). contracts with
. Michel Troisgros. Today. such as packaged meals for airlines or for retail in commercial supermarket chains.
cuisiniers de France. Alain Senderens. the ﬁrst televised cooking show brought elegant cuisine and an accomplished. the company underwrites the chef’s restaurant. To this cuisine sous contrat (cooking on contract). independent chef as star performer. The Association aimed to promote high-quality restaurants and the autonomous chef de cuisine. for the ﬁnest of the ﬁne restaurants are so expensive to run that they are rarely profitable. Michel Guérard. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard publicunpact. the roles played by a select group of elite chefs extend far beyond activity in a single restaurant kitchen to affect a much wider market. In return. Since the 1970s. Acting as a consultant and advisor.Cooking
Chef Michel Troisgros (second from left) of the three-star restaurant Troisgros in Roanne at work with his staff. the chef assists a company to improve quality in mass-produced items. the chef may also lend the cachet of his name for marketing. into homes across the country. Michelin-starred chefs such as Joël Robuchon. Companies in the agro-alimentary industry and chefs themselves further cultivate links to private and government-supported research laboratories such as INRA. and Paul Bocuse have cultivated ties with the industrie agroalimentaire (agricultural-alimentary industry).
and government. The mères are associated especially with the Lyon area. The mères came to prominence starting at the end of the nineteenth century and. In either case.
. in part because of their inﬂuence on successful male chefs.94
Food Culture in France
agro-alimentary companies may be coercive or beneﬁcial. the purview of the star chef extends beyond the restaurant kitchen and dining room to overlapping spheres of industry. Some of their restaurants began as tiny establishments that served home-style dishes to feed the canuts (silk-workers) who populated the city. A few of the mères. ﬁnance. Until as recently as the mid-twentieth century. helped by restaurant reviewers and food writers. early in the twentieth. became quite well known.
There have been a few notable exceptions to the gender divide in professional cooking. The history of the cuisinières has yet to be elaborated beyond anecdote. There is also the small group of remarkable chef-proprietors known since the end of the eighteenth century as mères (mothers). many middle class and smaller bourgeois households employed a cuisinière (female cook) who worked under the direct supervision of the mistress of the house. In contrast with the elaborate preparations and expensive exotic ingredients used in elite restaurants. however. Courtesy of Philippe Bornier. their cooking relied essentially on local
Chef Monique Salera cooking in her restaurant La Dame d’Aquitaine in Dijon.
Venues for professional cooking vary from local bistros and cafés to the grand restaurants gastronomiques. Hostility to the entry of women into the world of professional cooks has long emanated from the ranks of male cooks who feared competition. innovative. horseradish. rather than by their ﬁrst and last names. Gastronomy—the knowledgeable appreciation of food—has tended to view women. Their success ﬂies in the face of traditions of food writing. then served with fresh chervil sauce).Cooking
ingredients and relatively simple methods. and early promoter of nouvelle cuisine Paul Bocuse is said to have scoffed at the capacity of female cooks for reﬁned. In the twentieth century. the most widely recognized indicator of quality for a restaurant. not to mention grande cuisine or haute cuisine. tablier de sapeur (tripe that is marinated. and professional cooking culture that have been actively hostile to seeing women work in professional kitchens. bon-vivant. Several won and many kept for years one or more Michelin stars. a few talented female chefs in prominent restaurants challenge the strong masculine association to good restaurant food.10 Today. chicken poached with morels or trufﬂes. omelets. The group did support teaching women from the popular classes the art of home cooking as part of a more general enseignement ménager (course in domestic economy). along with food items. A congress of (male) cooks from throughout France and Algeria that met in Paris in 1893 declared its opposition to the entry of women as apprentices in the great restaurant and hotel kitchens. Today. coated with breadcrumbs. founded in 1912 as a private automobile club whose members sought out restaurants for touring destinations. styles of restaurant cooking
. is to this day open only to men. and cervelle de canuts (“silk-weavers brains”—fresh cheese seasoned with chives. or grand cuisine. pepper. and red wine vinegar). cooking school students and apprentices working in restaurants note the macho culture and inhospitable climate prevalent in many professional kitchens. eel stew. These chefs were as often as not simply called La Mère … (Mother So-and-So) by their clients and. rather than as capable connoisseurs. fried. Dishes associated with their restaurants include roasted chicken. savory onion tarts. The exclusive Club des Cent (Hundred Club). but this also aimed to train women for their roles as mothers and nurturers within the family. pike quenelles (poached ﬁne-textured ﬁsh dumplings) with crayﬁsh sauce. in the press. as consumables. along with salt. garlic.9 In this era a mandate recommended cooking instruction in the public schools. restaurant reviewing. eventually. the great chef.
Fish and meat must not be combined in the same dish: they belonged in separate courses. cheese. an entremets (“between dishes. Inﬂuential transformations occurred in high-end restaurant cooking during the middle and late twentieth century. in some cases to ﬁnish the cooking. codifying. He deﬁnes its basic elements and rules for combining them. for instance. a salad. Rules for menu composition imposed balance and variety. and early twentieth centuries. a variety of entrées or ﬁrst courses. A proper meal in the grand style consisted of potage or soup. A given cut of meat.. dessert.e. and they added interest to the ﬁnal presentation. a hot appetizer or hors-d’oeuvre followed by a relevé that was seasoned to provide ﬂavor contrast. The menus available on a daily basis in wealthy houses and in grand restaurants were for banquets. Cold and hot dishes must alternate. Staff performed numerous tasks. or something in between.” i. The peak of success for grand cooking came at the turn of the twentieth century and is best reﬂected in the Guide culinaire (1903) of Auguste Escofﬁer. Escofﬁer’s volume is a grammar of cuisine classique (classical cooking). served with a variety of sauces. between roast and cheese) that often consisted of foie gras. These elements were assembled before the cooking. a roast. The workspace may be a tiny room that differs little from a home kitchen. Dishes often featured touches such as layers of stufﬁngs and decorative pastry shells. Each combination pulled from the matrix is a speciﬁc dish with its own name. and coffee. desserts such as crêpes Suzette were ﬂambéed tableside. The découpage (carving) was carried out in the dining room. Until as late as the 1970s. nineteenth. an ice (sometimes served as an entremets). and accompanied by a selection of ﬁllings or garnishes that lend ﬂavor. and waiters served from full-sized platters that they carried around the table. may be cooked in different ways. soft dishes such as a creamy dessert must be accompanied by a dry biscuit for contrast.96
Food Culture in France
range from traditional and regional to the cuisines exotiques (“exotic” cuisines) borrowed from around the world. Sweet. a cavernous chamber appointed with industrial strength appliances and staffed by a numerous brigade (contingent of kitchen staff) in a large hotel.
. The style of cooking that underpins today’s school curricula and that takes place in ﬁne-dining restaurants emerged from the aristocratic traditions of the great houses and from court cuisine as well as from their continuations by private cooks in bourgeois houses of the eighteenth. yet clearly related to other dishes with which it may be paired or contrasted to compose a full meal. dishes were served en salle (in the dining room). Repetition must be avoided from garnish to vegetable to side dish. and rationalizing grand cooking into a clear system.
and dessert. elements of nouvelle cuisine such as the emphasis on fresh ingredients and clear ﬂavors are part of the culinary lexicon of nearly every discerning chef. As chefs traveled abroad and as immigrants from the former colonies introduced new foods and ingredients. Today. Chicken and shrimp brochettes (grilled on skewers) were an innovation. or gésier (gizzard) conﬁt. chefs initiated a kind of control and direct contact with individual diners by plating food in the kitchen. Ultimately the meal was simpliﬁed to today’s standard of three courses: entrée (ﬁrst course). Chefs brought together items formerly separated into different courses and began to use ingredients formerly excluded from elegant cooking. Beginning in the 1950s.Cooking
As chefs asserted their autonomy. a thickening liaison used as a sauce base. the food critics and guidebook authors Henri Gault and Christian Millau called the new style nouvelle cuisine (new cuisine) and became its outspoken champions. and they sought to make food taste as fresh as possible. They now preferred fruit and vegetable purées and reductions. the grand serving platters disappeared. Foie gras moved from the end of the meal to the start as a ﬁrst course or entrée.
A fish preparation from the Troisgros kitchen shows the influence of nouvelle cuisine. “exotics” from kiwis to couscous further inﬂected French cooking. plat. Service was now à l’assiette (by individual plate). Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact. as was green salad topped with slices of foie gras. to which liquid is added). transformations traceable to about mid-century pushed food and service in the direction of contemporary practice. In 1973. Unconventional combinations appeared. magret de canard (breast of duck). Chefs rejected as heavy and antiquated the overuse of preparations such as the roux (ﬂour cooked in butter.
everyday fare provide a steady continuo beneath the elaborate melodies of fashion and fad. These menus may be authentic. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact. even homely dishes to eaters whose nostalgia for home cooking ﬁnds no answer in a fast-paced lifestyle or perhaps in living alone. For convenience. precooked items. a group of chefs published a manifesto protesting the encroachment of globalizing inﬂuences and praising all things native and local. Within the last ﬁve years. and cream sauce deconstructed into its component parts. a nouvelle vague (new wave) of young cooks with outstanding credentials from apprenticeships in top kitchens has moved beyond the domain of Michelin-starred restaurants. nostalgic. quirky approach to highly reﬁned cooking that is also creative. occupies a relatively small space in France.
Several distinct trends are at work in contemporary restaurant cooking. dehydrated fonds de sauce (sauce bases). Instead. as a matter of principle. Varieties of cuisine du terroir focus on native ingredients and dishes. Cuisine de tradition. offers familiar. Outspoken fusion cuisine. casual restaurant kitchens exploit industrial innovations: pre-prepared vegetables.98
Food Culture in France
Post-modern food from the Troisgros kitchen: pasta with a mushroom. economy. characterized by bold. or to compensate for insufﬁcient staff. striking mixtures of foreign and local ingredients and methods. a kind of comfort food. In some cases. the proponents of la jeune cuisine (young cuisine) take a personal. or deliberately conservative. A piece of food enclosed in a sealed bag or container is cooked at a relatively low
. they attach to a political ideology that seeks to resist or attenuate outside inﬂuences and to afﬁrm a local or regional identity. Chefs in a variety of contexts adopt new materials and industrial techniques. trufﬂe. Relatively simple establishments serving well-prepared. such as cooking sous vide (“in a vacuum”). In the 1990s. with their old hierarchies and structures. even ludic.
As in the United States. the reputation and prominence of French cuisine within the country and beyond is due not only to the excellence and variety of the food but also to the elaboration of discourses about that food. such works as domestic tracts and novels have done the same.12 To be sure. Here. the ﬁrst narrative food guide judged Parisian restaurants for quality.
COOKING AND THE MEDIA
French food has long been known for its special éclat (sparkle and glamour). leitmotif. Contained within the yearly publication entitled the Almanach des Gourmands (Gourmands’ Almanac. agricultural and medical treatises. legitimacy. readers. the results are predictable. Each reinforced the importance. and the chef is spared worry. chefs and food producers interact intensively with writers. and the scope of their activities has increased. Over two centuries. ritual. Today. writers) exerted a mutual inﬂuence. 1803–1812). notably the ﬁrst modern-style narrative food guide and food periodical. and knowledge derive from reading a newspaper review of the restaurant. As political and social structures evolved (highlighted by the Revolution of 1789). saw important innovations in food writing. His judgments also affected the subsequent activities of chefs and caterers concerned to receive favorable reviews. publicists. and consumers. Through the eighteenth century. The guide author. Geography or budget may prevent one from visiting an outstanding restaurant in a neighboring province. the activities of producers (cooks.Cooking
temperature. paeans to the pleasures of the table are ancient. however. But other pleasure. or obsessive theme. fashion in food emanated from grand houses and the royal court. along with conviviality. the prevalent associations are quality. restaurants multiplied. and poems have treated aspects of food culture as a primary subject or ancillary topic. and a new food publishing industry gained impressive momentum. interest. and according to precise timing. standards of quality can be guaranteed. and shared enjoyment. variety. Grimod de la Reynière. Since the seventeenth century it has enjoyed tremendous prestige. Since the early nineteenth century. with little added liquid. The ﬁrst decade of the nineteenth century. Since antiquity. In principle.
. the players in the various culinary and gastronomic spheres have multiplied. food sellers) and consumers (eaters. histories. as well as giving their addresses. and stakes for the other. This back-and-forth democratizes food cultures and also serves to legislate and regulate standards of taste and quality. Durable print extended the life and reach of ephemeral edibles. More recently. reported on restaurants and food items ostensibly as he experienced them. and coherence.
396–405. They refuse. These chefs have taken themselves out of the running for prestigious honors. it is the home cooks and restaurant chefs who serve up continuity and creativity on the plate. editor Thomas M. There is a marked increase in the recent publication of cookbooks for “exotic” cuisines (of Thailand. 3. food-related Web sites and databases. and stimulates the imagination. 2006).
. Michèle de la Pradelle.
1. Histoire des maisons à succursales en France (Paris: Union des entreprises modernes. and periodicals devoted to food and cooking. providing a space for fantasy in which the dining table is a vanishing point in the far distance. Gilles Normand. in other words. John Ardagh. Amy Jacobs (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. A critical piece banishes the chef to culinary and economic purgatory. 1983. The power of critics is so strong that a few chefs at the most elevated end of the cooking spectrum have rebelled. A newspaper column inﬂuences home cooks seeking ideas for dinner. 2. or Japan) or focusing on clearly foreign foodstuffs (from Anglo mufﬁns or scones to Chinese wok dishes). The phenomenon indexes the social prestige of food connoisseurship in an afﬂuent society. A strong review sends customers ﬂocking in droves to a restaurant. to conform. too. From day to day. An everlarger number of cookbooks are available in bookstores. 139. Market Day in Provence. “Consuming Wine in France: The ‘Wandering’ Drinker and the Vin-anomie. the media extension of food in France is now vast.100
Food Culture in France
watching a televised interview with the chef. Some have stated their lack of interest in the distinction of a Michelin star and chosen to prepare food that expresses a personal preference or philosophy. in order to cook by their own lights. 2005). and perhaps making some of his recipes at home. The interactions of food producers and consumers further shape and regulate—prescribe and proscribe—standards of quality and concepts of good taste. They ignore as interference the mediating roles of critic and reporter to please themselves and their clients directly. Morocco. Wilson (Oxford: Berg. It includes food shows on television. purchasing the chef ’s cookbook. trans. The mediatization of cuisine encourages participation. As in the United States. Marion Demossier.” in Drinking Cultures: Alcohol and Identity. 1936). 1982). 4. teaching viewers and readers how to cook and about food. France in the 1980s (New York: Penguin. Yet the response of writers and critics inﬂuences cooks.
eds. Histoire de l’alimentation: Quels enjeux pour la formation? (Dijon: Educagri. 2004). Patrick Rambourg. 54. 8. 3 (November 1998): 597–641 and Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 2004).” L’Histoire 273 (February 2003): 25–26.
5.. 131 and passim in Julia Csergo and Christophe Marion. no. Drouard. Alain Drouard. 133. trans. Sylvie-Anne Mériot. 1977). 7. Trevor Cox and Chanelle Paul (Boston: Brill. 9. “Guerre des sexes au fourneau!. Histoire des cuisiniers en France XIXe-XXe siècle (Paris: CNRS. 12. 2006). Nostalgic Cooks: Another French Paradox. Drouard.’” Le Monde (May 21. 6. 11. “A Cultural Field in the Making: Gastronomy in 19th-Century France. Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson.” American Journal of Sociology 104. 10. Drouard. 2004). “Ces dames au ‘piano. La Reynière [Robert Courtine]. 20.
Through the late nineteenth century. the déjeuner (lunch).. may still be substantial and served in three courses (entrée. at about 8 P. and fromage or dessert) or may consist of a sandwich eaten on the run. the familiar structure frames conversation and reinforces the separation of mealtime from the hustle and bustle of the day. plat. Seasonal changes and religious observance also played a role. At noon. taken in the morning before school or work. As the service of dishes progresses. The dîner.4
Three meals each day is typical in France. dinner is often the only weekday meal for which the whole family can gather together at table. and income. The structure of the French meal. From one to four meals daily was common. although for different groups of people.M. with its unfolding sequence of courses. and as an opportunity to enjoy the sensual pleasures of food and drink. for example. is especially conducive to relaxed enjoyment at table. long the main meal for many people.
Today’s standard three meals evolved over centuries. is now an important meal. eating schedules varied greatly according to profession.
. region. Because both men and women work outside the home. The evening meal is looked forward to as a respite from the day’s work. as a time to see family members. The petit déjeuner (breakfast). is insubstantial.1 Elites might eat twice daily.
this meal could also include meat and wine. again soup or light stew. this early meal was called le petit (small) déjeuner. The name suggests that the presence for a déjeuner of items other than liquid soup. and convivial enjoyment that accompanies the working-class. By the early nineteenth century. the déjeuner might be practically the only nourishment throughout the day. middle-class and modern bourgeois family dinner makes an equally important contribution to quality of life. the sense of leisure. the custom of privileging the evening dîner gained in the nineteenth century. the population of villagers and rural dwellers is small. might be added in the early evening. the mid-day meal was sometimes called a déjeuner à la fourchette (fork luncheon). then called the déjeuner (“to break the fast”). For agricultural workers who stayed in the ﬁelds all day long and for those who worked far from home. which included meat and required the use of a fork and knife. but this was not consistent. the morning déjeuner and mid-day dîner each migrated later in the day. including the month of paid vacation given to salaried workers since 1965 (converted to ﬁve weeks in 1981) and the 35-hour workweek instituted in the late 1990s. By the 1890s. The names used today for the three meals recall how practices have changed over time. possibly quite elaborate and luxurious meals in a sociable setting.104
Food Culture in France
and manual laborers up to four times each day. After the Second World War. material comfort. the light goûter or snack. there was the déjeuner. that is. Despite the importance of the mid-day meal. supper was the most substantial meal. a second. School and most work schedules are designed to allow
. and bread. but in the countryside the word souper is still used to mean the evening meal. Afﬂuence also made signiﬁcant social reforms possible. The demographic and industrial shift resulted in the shared work schedule that now prevails.2 As recently as the late eighteenth century. and then ﬁnally the souper. usually consisted of soup. Because the ﬁrst substantial meal was now relatively late. Today. The déjeuner à la fourchette. most likely made of vegetables and grains. was often a working meal in the sense of today’s business lunches. A smaller meal (le souper). The professional classes preferred to eat a large déjeuner at noon or one o’clock. Today. the mid-day dîner (or collation). For those in modest circumstances. if they were available. wine. technological modernization and the massive exodus from villages and rural areas to cities transformed society. smaller déjeuner was added to tide over appetites until mid-day. As industrial jobs increased in number and urban populations became larger. For those who ate all four meals. after accomplishing the morning’s work. or coffee was still somewhat remarkable. as larger numbers of people cultivated the leisurely enjoyment of carefully prepared. the ﬁrst meal.
freedom from the ritual of the family meal may be experienced as an opportunity to develop a more individual lifestyle.. Bread is placed on the table throughout the meal. and the replacement or disappearance of the nuclear family as the deﬁning social unit. Because most people throughout the country take meals at about the same time. Factors such as the fast pace of modern life. An entrée or ﬁrst course might consist of soup. such as an omelet. Although the practice is frowned on in polite (such as bourgeois) circles. and a ﬁnished dish. The French palate prefers rich and deep ﬂavors over sharp or spicy ones. the family meal or a full meal with friends or colleagues is a central feature of daily life. the French place a high value on sociability and community. larger numbers of people living alone. or a cooked salad.
STRUCTURE OF A MAIN MEAL
The dishes that make up a main meal appear in a succession of separate courses. This is a convenient way to clean the plate between courses if the plates are not changed. be it ever so simple. The community aspect of meals strengthens social ties and even the sense of equality. becomes more than the sum of its parts. others do not keep late evening hours. so that both ingredients end up tasting even better. although others worry about a decline of traditional ways and deterioration of the social fabric. Nonetheless. crisp. As in many countries. making the meal an expression of shared values. Many think that to eat “all alone” (manger tout seul) is sad. Eating is considered a convivial activity par excellence. poultry. or simply impossible to achieve. and people take a slice or break off a piece of a loaf as desired. or ﬁsh. that food tastes better when it is shared. Afterward comes a green tossed salad and a cheese course. small pieces of bread are used to sop up sauces and salad dressings. and balance and harmony are sought when planning a meal. to reopen in the afternoon at 1:30 or 2:00 P. Especially in the younger generation. so that staff have evenings free. with perhaps a fruit or sweet to ﬁnish.Typical Meals
breaks for meals. Portions are small. outmoded. This is followed by a plat principal or main dish. the family meal is at times a locus of tension. make the family meal seem for some irrelevant. Some shops and ofﬁces close at mid-day. peppery. as well as to enjoy every last drop of the sauce. so the appetite is not overwhelmed by the succession of different edibles. fresh radishes are balanced
. a plate of crudités (raw vegetables) served with a vinaigrette dressing. Edibles seek complements. there is a strong shared feeling of the rhythm of the day. it may consist of eggs.M. A main dish usually contains meat. As a culture. For a summer seasonal entrée.
or a stove-top Moka device that forces water up through ground coffee by steam pressure. It is unusual to mix salty and sweet ﬂavors within a single dish. A rich. and so on) adapt their menus to follow French custom. For a main dish. which is still present in miniature. lack of time. The expectations for a proper meal color perceptions of other forms of eating.
The petit déjeuner is light and simple. especially women concerned with weight gain. there is a self-consciousness about making them. a French press that allows ground coffee to release its fragrance into freshly boiled water before a dense hard ﬁlter is lowered in to separate out the grounds. Whether or not the practice coincides with eating custom in the country of origin of the food itself. Another important feature of French meals is the distinction between savory and sweet. which are thought of as substitutions or deviations. and desserts and vary the portions accordingly. Similarly. pared down to a hearty composed salad as a main dish. followed by cheese. People sometimes add a pinch of salt. When eating at home. plats. but simply referred to as eating. Moroccan. restaurants serving a foreign cuisine (Vietnamese. and interest in eating lighter. Structuring the main meal in courses is both a typical practice and also an ideal for eating well. Chinese. much less a proper meal. replace the cheese course with a light alternative such as yogurt. the clean acidity of tomato and the aroma of anise seed complement the sweet marine ﬂavors in a ﬁsh soup. Thai. cool salad. Sweets are saved for the end of a meal. A hot main dish may be followed by a crisp. many people. Any one of several methods is used for brewing the coffee fresh: the paper ﬁlter method in an electric coffee maker or stove-top glass cone. the whole thing accompanied by bread—the foods are nonetheless organized within the traditional structure.106
Food Culture in France
with creamy dairy butter spread on fresh bread and ﬁnished with a sprinkling of salt. a dash of
. and likely described as eating sur le pouce (in a hurry). as one is refusing what is traditional and expected. dense slice of foie gras cries out for a spoonful of sweettart currant or gooseberry preserve. If a meal is abbreviated on a busy weeknight—say. Such factors as cost. Eating a sandwich for a quick lunch would not be called taking a meal. Durable combinations of ﬂavors and textures are sought. Although such substitutions are common. heated milk poured with strong hot coffee into a hemispherical bowl. menus will group dishes into entrées. smaller meals for health reasons mitigate against preparing and eating the full succession of courses. For the morning meal adults drink café au lait.
but le brunch is considered an exotic meal. An effort is made to provide foods that are considered healthful and appropriate for the late morning: bread and cheese. The healthconscious add a glass of fruit juice or a serving of yogurt to their breakfast.M.. Children drink hot chocolate. After the breakfast café au lait. a small sandwich made of buttered bread with a slice of ham. Un café. In cities. into their morning hot milk. quite out of the ordinary. Restaurant-style machines for making coffee by steam pressure are available for use at home. Alternatively. Those who seek to avoid caffeine stir powdered roasted chicory root. or it may be provided by the parents of each child for the whole class on a rotating schedule. the small amount of food eaten for breakfast accompanies the café au lait. and at about 10:30 A. any coffee drunk at other times of day is taken without milk. also called un petit café or un petit noir. is eaten along with the coffee. the morning snack. It is the hot milk in the café au lait or café crème that is considered the nourishing part of the breakfast. Dunking the bread or pastry into the coffee is a beloved practice. such as a section of baguette spread with butter.M.Typical Meals
cinnamon. On late weekend mornings. including many of the American brands. and these are well liked by connoisseurs. break for la collation du matin. In recent years tea has become more popular. or a spoon of cocoa powder to the ground coffee to vary or balance the ﬂavor. or Nutella to make a tartine.
Working people and students take a break (une pause) in the morning or afternoon to drink small cups of strong coffee.
Children begin the school day at 8:30 A. For weekend breakfasts or a special treat. The snack is brought from home. A piece of bread. Processed cereals such as corn ﬂakes or puffed rice eaten with cold milk are now popular enough that grocery stores stock them. a few restaurants serve brunch. people do not eat a large breakfast. but simply drink coffee or nothing at all and eat a regular lunch. The depth and large diameter of the café au lait bowl are accommodating for this purpose. fruit yogurt. pastry such as croissants or brioche (from yeasted dough enriched with butter) replaces plain bread. jam. is served in a demi-tasse
. instant coffee such as Nescafé is dissolved by stirring into hot milk. although it is not considered a sustaining beverage. honey. or a piece of fruit such as an apple. with its pleasing dark brown color and nutty ﬂavor.
or until 2:00 P. or allongé (“stretched out”).” i. Starting in the early 1970s. a very small cup). have a cantine or cafeteria that provides a full. friends.
Lunch is between noon and about 2 P.108
Food Culture in France
(“half-cup. schools are required to provide lunch for children whose parents both work or whose parents are unemployed but seeking work. so that their child qualiﬁes to eat lunch at school. so that a bit of leisure is built into the work day. In cafés. stronger and smaller. and at airports and highway rest stops. as food is. but rather as revivifying. that is.
Lunch at School
Primary schools schedule the lunch break from about 11:30 A. according to taste. made with more water. the work day and school day extend relatively late into the afternoon. such as a cold plate of sandwiches or charcuterie. or family. to 1:30 P. public schools were required to provide half of the day’s nutritional requirements through the school lunch. Recent demographic and nutritional information has led to changed recommendations.e. like businesses. however. it is common to specify a preference for coffee that is serré (dense). As of the
.M.M. Since the break is substantial. or at a more leisurely pace sitting at a table. and the school lunch was often extremely simple. with less water used relative to the amount of ground coffee. In a café. This ruling was based on the assumption that children ate the main meal at home in the evening. if one is in a hurry.. It is taken plain or with sugar. hot meal. or if the coffee is being made at home with a restaurantstyle machine. with schools scheduling a full two hours for the mid-day meal and pause and many businesses allowing a similar break. a coffee can be drunk standing up at a counter. cups of coffee can be purchased from vending machines that grind the beans and brew a fresh cup. By law emanating from the Ministry of Education. The small coffees are not seen as nourishing.M. The break is long enough to allow for a relaxed meal and for socializing with colleagues. to accommodate parents’ work schedules. The few sips of strong coffee are considered outside the range of foods and meals.M. Both parents must provide proof of their employment status. either prepared on the premises if there is a full kitchen facility.M. there is some variation in these times across the country.. At many businesses and high schools.. of course. Schools. or hired by the school from a catering company. About 66 percent of primary school children take lunch at school. if the day ends at 5 P.
perceived as insufﬁciently knowledgeable in the culinary heritage of their own country. children develop social and communication skills. and the need to balance nutritional concerns with commercial pressures. which in turn assists in the development of a national identity and to maintain the culture. Since the early 1980s. and bread. The département or prefecture is in charge of organizing meals for secondary schools.” how to eat a “proper” meal. a dessert. During the Semaine du goût. following the current norm.
Culinary Heritage in Schools
If ideological concerns shape the school lunch. cooking. School lunches vary in character and quality. and the regional authority takes on responsibility for high school meals. Thus school meals are legislated as sites for taste education. ofﬁcial statements from the Ministry of Education have noted the importance of meals for education. they learn to understand and appreciate food. however. At table. Generally. according to organization at the local level. The educational effort extends even to the adult population. to what degree schools should cater to students unable to eat the standard fare because of religious background. school lunch consists of an entrée of a salad or vegetable. underwrite the effort. It also betrays concerns about the demise of national cultural identity in the era of Europeanization and
year 2000. At issue today are interest in organizing cantines to include local and regional foods. they learn principles for maintaining good health and understanding food safety. restaurants offer traditional meals at reduced prices. a meat or ﬁsh dish accompanied by cooked vegetables. In learning to eat balanced meals. In learning how to eat “well. school lunches must provide 40 percent of daily nutritional needs.3 In theory the school meal serves more than simply the nutritional needs of children and adolescents.4 The establishment of the Week of Taste owes much to the corporate interests that. the annual Semaine du goût or Week of Taste held every October since 1991 represents another means of promoting culinary and gastronomic education in schools. along with the government. and eating in public secondary schools. a snack (10 percent). In primary schools and nursery schools. and dinner (30 percent). it is assumed that the rest comes from breakfast (20 percent). A prevalent worry is how to promote milk and water over soft drinks and to ensure that children consume adequate fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid too much fat and sugar. The school lunch is a topic of ongoing debate. the municipal jurisdiction or city oversees lunch preparations. Professional chefs leave their restaurants to teach lessons about food.
globalization. Students are wearing the protective cleanroom garments that butchers put on when they break down carcasses. fruit. cheese. placing the dishes on a tray: bread. where the same meal would cost two to three times this price in a restaurant.110
Food Culture in France
Butchers wearing the asymmetrical aprons of their trade distribute samples of roast beef during a school taste class. Yet the Semaine du goût also manifests a democratic. water and coffee. yogurt. cooked vegetables. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact. One selects the components of a full meal. as companies subsidize meals there.
Lunch at Work
Many businesses offer some sort of meal subsidy to employees as a beneﬁt. where employees eat lunch. universalistic idea. salads. Lunch in a company cantine is relatively inexpensive. Another way that businesses subsidize their employees’
. Businesses of substantial enough size and nearly every large corporation have an in-house restaurant de l’entreprise (company restaurant). are a matter of education and should be accessible to all. commonly called the cantine (canteen). wine and beer. a hot main dish. The cultivation of taste and the pleasure of eating well. like reading and mathematics. The cantine is generally set up cafeteria-style. An employee may pay in the neighborhood of 3 to 5 Euros for a full meal in the cantine.
eating a variety of foods thought to be reasonably healthful. and a glass of fruit juice or milk. Eating when one is not hungry is seen as excessive. a tartine.. or a pastry. a tartine spread with jam or honey. people bring lunch from home. a piece of fruit that can be eaten out of hand. The snack is partially a matter of practical necessity.
Every day children look forward to the goûter or afternoon snack that marks their return home from school. from biscuits (plain butter cookies or the same thing covered with chocolate) and gâteaux (individual portions of sponge cake with chocolate) to Kinder (the brand name and generic moniker of chocolate covered wafers. paying about 3 Euros for a coupon worth 5. If no cantine is available. or “lost” stale bread that is brought back to life by soaking in eggs and milk. snacking in general is frowned on for adults.M. Schools and the garderie (child care) usually let out at 4:30 P. but is more likely to consist of something sweet: bread and a piece of chocolate or some Nutella. nuts.. as children ﬁnd the wait from lunch until dinner too long to tolerate comfortably. Employees purchase coupons from their companies at a discount. or raisins). at a traiteur or caterer’s to buy prepared food to take out. and perhaps an apple. a piece of freshly baked pastry. To tempt the youthful sweet tooth there are any number of produits industriels (packaged or processed products). a crushed soft fresh fruit such as an apricot or peach sprinkled with a bit of sugar and eaten on a piece of toast. The voucher is used like a traveler’s check in restaurants. a yogurt. The goûter is similar to the morning collation. then sautéing in butter). for example. return home.
Snacking versus Eating Well
Beyond the collation and goûter given to children. timed to coincide with the end of the parents’ workday. manger correctement) or to eat “normally” (manger normalement) means sticking to the three main meals. It is also a way for parents to welcome their children home after school. or take lunch in a restaurant. reestablish contact after the separation of the afternoon or entire day.Typical Meals
meals is through the ticket-restaurant. and conversationally catch up on the day’s news. High-school students and adults may take a coffee or a cup of tea in the late afternoon. or to purchase food from the charcutier and in other food shops. or in some areas as late as 5:00 or 6:00 P. as one of several ways of eating poorly.M. pain perdu (French toast. and eating in moderation. To eat well (bien manger. At table people may
At home. and gougères (baked cheese puffs). some combination of greed and pleasure. In summer. is seen as unnecessary. such as salmon and tuna. the apéritif or apéro often falls by the wayside. Favorite appetizers include toasts or thin slices of bread with rillettes or rounds of sliced hard sausage. and pepper and served with some purée (mash) of broccoli or potatoes. pastis. or snacking. The word is signiﬁcant. as eating patterns change to accommodate long commutes and intensively scheduled work days. and grilling. and ﬁnish with a green salad and a piece of cheese. broiling. in recent years.
Busy schedules during the week contribute to the preference for dishes that are relatively quick and simple to prepare and to some abbreviation of the full sequence of courses. and mixed drinks are all standard apéritifs for adults.
Drinking an apéritif or cocktail before a full meal. baked savory biscuits. but the onus connected with it has not diminished. whether lunch or (more commonly) dinner. even antisocial. gourmand. has meant a knowledgeable eater. a small piece of pissaladière (Provençal pizza topped with caramelized onions). Since the late eighteenth century. A typical weekday dinner might begin with a salad of grated carrots dressed with mustard vinaigrette. as well as ﬁllets of ﬁrm-ﬂeshed ﬁsh. On busy weekdays. salt. such as steaks and chops. Children drink a sirop such as mint or barley syrup poured over ice and mixed with water. is enjoyed as an overture to conversation. the practice of snacking has increased. Some sort of food accompanies the apéritif. like the later word gastronome. Eating outside the setting of the large regular meals of lunch and dinner. Bread is eaten throughout the meal to accompany each course. as well as for whetting the appetite. and for foodstuffs that respond well to these methods. Many families
. whiskey. as if to excuse themselves even as they draw attention to the indulgence as exceptional. progress to a portion of sautéed onglet (similar to hangar steak) garnished with butter. but for more leisurely meals on weekends or holidays. searing. the preference is for fast cooking methods. Yet the term derives from gourmandise or gluttony. one of the Seven Deadly Sins of the Catholic tradition. that they are eating par gourmandise.112
Food Culture in France
sociably announce as they help themselves to an extra serving of a wellliked dish. a kir or sweet white wine such as Muscat or Monbazillac may be served chilled. it is a welcome opening act to a full meal. such as sautéing. Nonetheless.
A roast leg of lamb studded with slivers of garlic and rubbed with rosemary branches and served with baked white haricot beans.Typical Meals
keep crunchy or salty foods on hand as appetizers to lay out in small bowls: olives. including browning the meat before adding the liquid. Some of the more elaborate dishes make large quantities of food that require a greater number of eaters to consume them. Both are likely to be cooked and eaten at a leisurely pace and in a festive atmosphere. and a great deal of socializing takes place as everyone moves about the kitchen. Historically. Blanquette de veau or d’agneau (white veal or lamb stew) is a dish that people make at home in the spring and for Easter Sunday. With a weekend party of family or friends. and Sunday lunch is traditionally a meal taken with family. peanuts or cashews. The dish has many variations. The invitation to prendre un verre or prendre un pot (go out for a drink) is social and understood to mean a drink taken together before dinner.
WEEKEND MEALS: SATURDAY DINNER AND SUNDAY LUNCH
On the weekend there is more time to create elaborate meals and use slower cooking methods and to linger over the meal with family and friends. It is also common to go out for a predinner drink with friends or family before moving on to dinner at a restaurant or returning home to eat. peeled and sliced into rounds
. but this custom is hardly observed anymore. Weekend meals usually consist of the full range of courses and include a before-dinner drink.5
Veal Stew (Blanquette de veau) • 2 pounds shoulder of veal • 1 large onion • 5 sprigs parsley • 10 peppercorns (whole) • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 5 cloves garlic • 4 cups water • 12 pearl onions. chips. or a chicken roasted on a bed of sliced onions and carrots. despite the name blanquette. Saturday evening is often reserved for socializing with friends. there are more hands to help out. Many city dwellers will leave town for the day if not the whole weekend. small salted crackers. peeled • 5 carrots. are typical centerpieces for weekend meals. ﬁsh was eaten on Friday evenings for religious reasons. to stay at a second residence or to visit extended family.
In the summer. and simmer 15 minutes more. a slow-simmered poule-au-pot (stuffed chicken stewed with vegetables). Beat the eggs yolks and cream together. The water should just cover the other ingredients. veal. and served moistened with a bit of the cooking
. Regional variations add other meats than beef. onion. continuing to stir over very gentle heat until the sauce thickens. for a main course consisting of grilled meats such as spicy merguez. then reduce heat and simmer gently for 60 minutes. A very large pot or multiple pots are required to hold the ingredients. turnips. Parsley or the selection of herbs called bouquet garni is added as well. and tailbones (oxtail) or a marrow bone. bacon. Stir a ladle of broth into the egg yolks and cream to temper the mixture. carrots. and steaks. outdoor barbecues are popular for weekend gatherings. peppercorns. which usually include a combination of fattier and leaner meats. then pour the sauce over the meat. and leeks. celery. Strain the broth. Enjoy the stew hot with rice or boiled potatoes. then simmer until it reduces by about one-third. The ﬂavorful broth is served as a ﬁrst course. Arrange the cooked mushrooms on top as a garnish. sirloin. Add the pearl onions and carrots. Vegetables added to the pot include carrots. Other traditional preparations having any number of regional variations include daube (beef stew). and water in a saucepan. and pearl onions to a serving dish. then pour it into the reduced broth. parsley. salt. such as ﬂank. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat.114 • • • •
Food Culture in France 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 large egg yolks 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 pound mushrooms. Test to make sure the veal is tender. and pot-au-feu (mixed boiled meats). Place the veal. onions. Reduce the heat under the broth so it nearly stops simmering. potatoes. garlic. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. preserved duck (conﬁt de carnard). which adds to the sense of occasion. A weekend meal often ends with a bought pastry such as a cake or fruit tart from a pâtissier. Afterward. such as ham. pork sausage. Bring to a boil. It should not boil. then sautéed in butter
Cut the veal into 2-inch pieces. chicken. cleaned and sliced. Pot-au-feu (“pot on the ﬁre”) derives its ﬂavor from the combination of three or more whole cuts of meat that are cooked together with a few vegetables and herbs. the meats are sliced and arranged on platters.
Inevitably pot-au-feu gives leftovers that can be reheated for another meal or transformed into other dishes. pigs’ feet boiled then roasted to a golden brown in the oven.
After going out to the movies or the theatre. Wine is considered an essential component of a good meal. will be selected in anticipation of having guests. mild.
Simple Onion Soup (Soupe à l’oignon) • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter • 6 cups coarsely chopped onion • 3 1/2 cups water or broth • 1/2 cup white wine • salt • pepper
. After the meal. richly succulent meat is balanced with pungent. a bottle or bottles of wine. In other cases. there may be little extra ceremony. salty. The tender.
ENTERTAINING AT HOME: MEALS FOR GUESTS
When close friends are invited to share the regular family meal. Although water is the most common beverage at the dinner table. The same principle of balance that guides the choices of foods in a meal also applies to selecting pairings of wine and food. cheeses. and it is certainly a symbol for the successful middle-class lifestyle.Typical Meals
broth. grated horseradish. as well as other alcohols. and so on that the hosts can afford. A hot soup such as onion is appreciated as a restorative at any hour of the night after going out. coffee may be offered. cornichons (small sharp pickles). The full sequence of courses will be carefully prepared and attention given to buy the best ingredients. this is a treasured sign of intimacy. capers. The extra effort is made out of respect for the guest but also to do honor to the hosts. and small glasses of after-dinner liqueurs. A late souper or supper may consist of nearly anything: a dish of pasta or a composed salad made at home. people may make a very late meal at home or eat in one of the relatively few restaurants that keep late hours. all stops are pulled for guests invited into the home. or after a day of skiing during a winter vacation. such as a cold salad or a baked meat tourte. or sour condiments: mustard. the specialty of a favorite late-night bistro. or a cold plate of local charcuterie. coarse sea salt. be it oysters on the half-shell.
grated In a saucepan. Raise the heat to medium to bring the mixture to a simmer. Grignon. 2000). Le Temps de manger: Alimentation. Uncover the pot. Claude Grignon. Eating Out in Europe (Oxford: Berg. preheat the oven to 350° F.” Le Monde (October 15. Add the water or broth and the wine. ladle the soup into individual ramekins or a tureen that can go in the oven.” Le Monde (October 20. 2002).” Le Monde (October 23. and Françoise Sabban. “French turn up noses at their own food. and sprinkle on the grated cheese to garnish.” pp. Jean Claude Ribaut. For the croutons. Brush the bread slices with olive oil. “La Semaine du goût.. Add the onions. Serve bubbling hot. Toward the end of cooking they should form a soft mass and be uniformly brown in color.. 4. emploi du temps et rythmes sociaux (Paris: Editions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme and INRA.” pp.
1. 373–87 in Marc Jacobs and Peter Scholliers. Claude Grignon. “Parlons goût” and “À palais ouverts. eds. preface by Patrick Rambourg (Paris: Jean-Paul Rocher. “Les heures des repas en France avant le XIXe siècle. 2003). preferably a dense-crumbed. 1994). 1993). “La quatrième édition de la semaine du goût. and Sabban. “Eating at School in France: An Anthropological Analysis of the Dynamics and Issues Involved in Implementing Public Policy.” pp.” The Times of London (October 14. until golden. 2. Bake 20 minutes at 450° F to melt and brown the cheese. La blanquette de veau: Histoire d’un plat bourgeois. 3. Adam Sage. 275–323 in Aymard. and cook for about 45 minutes. Ladle on the onion broth. place a crouton in the bottom of each soup bowl.
. Jean-Louis Flandrin. la mode et le travail: La genèse social du modèle des repas français contemporain. and Michele Aulagnon and Vincent Charbonnier. place on a baking sheet. Or. Jean-Louis Flandrin. and bake about 10 minutes. eds. 1994). stirring occasionally. “La règle. if you prefer. Isabelle Téchoueyres. Season to taste with salt and pepper.116
Food Culture in France
• 6 slices of day-old bread. 5. 1993). melt the butter over low heat. crusty variety • 1/4 cup olive oil • 3 cups Gruyère cheese. To serve the soup. cover. and simmer gently for 45 minutes. 197–225 in Maurice Aymard.
household spending on eating out increased . An estimate from 2004 calculated 9 billion meals out taken annually. Between 1970 and 1990. Of these people ate 3. the average is 120 meals outside of the home yearly. At present.1 In the past.25 percent. the wish for social interaction. or one meal out every three days.5
Eating at home is the norm for most people on most days. The French do not eat outside of the home as frequently as residents of some nations with a comparable standard of living. and expenditure for food to be eaten at home fell by a full 7 percent. Traditional or regional bills of fare. yet traditions of eating out go back centuries. and the practice is typical. cuisines from other nations and cultures. especially in urban areas. from ﬁne restaurants gastronomiques to fast-food restaurants and chains. and the need for a public location to transact business motivated people to eat outside of the home. such as the United Kingdom. Restaurant offerings are varied. the lack of space and tools for cooking.7 billion meals in cafeterias and other collective settings and 4.
.6 billion in commercial restaurants. the trend to take meals outside of the home increases perceptibly in France. if not as quickly as in some afﬂuent nations. novelty establishments where the interest lies as much with atmosphere as with food. and fast food and chains contribute to the restaurant scene. Nonetheless. The current practice of taking meals in commercial restaurants is the result of afﬂuence and the incursion of work into mealtime.
purée de pommes (thick. black olives. In the summer. jam-like apple sauce)—can be purchased in the street. In the cities of the South. and slices of hard boiled egg. tomato wedges. cold stands or trucks for ice cream are popular among children. or from narrow windows and counters that open up directly onto the street. the whole richly
The sign for Jean-Pierre Coumont’s ice-cream and sorbet in Saint Tropez (Var) indicates that they are hand-made by the sellers using pure fruits and no food colorings. During the summer. Crêpes with a choice of ﬁllings—sugar. Nutella. In parks. nutty-ﬂavored savory pancake made of chickpea ﬂour that is served up blistering hot directly from a round griddle.
. baguette ﬁlled with tuna. Pizza can also be purchased from stationary trucks. urban areas.118
Food Culture in France
Although it is not necessary for most people today to eat in the street. out of trucks. Regions have their own specialties that vendors sell at stands. in particular. ice cream stores open windows that face onto the street so that one can line up for a cone. the favorite sandwich is pan bagnat. Niç ois socca is the delicate-textured. Courtesy of Janine Depoil. never lack for food to tempt those on foot. boulangeries open up their storefronts to display squares of pizza and triangles of quiche. crème de marrons (chestnut cream).
The habit of smoking sociably while drinking and even eating dies hard. or comfortable.2 In recent years. however. and some choice of food.
RESTAURANTS. beer. During the cold months in the North. vendors sell hot roasted or boiled chestnuts and paper cones of freshly toasted peanuts made crunchy with delicately caramelized sugar. More commonly. atmosphere in some cafés is typically enhanced by clouds of cigarette smoke. mixed with soy. In practice. Many cafés serve wine. Its etymology is unclear. They all serve coffee and some choice of soft drinks. It may
. Cafés may have an elegant.Eating Out
laced with olive oil. hot coffee mixed with heated milk. or skim milk. The term bistro (or bistrot) is thought to have appeared in the 1880s. cafés and restaurants emerged during the early modern era. read the paper. or studious atmosphere. Smoking in public places has been illegal since 1992. ﬂavored. and fruit juices. and tomato are usually on hand. Cafés open early in the morning serve tartines (buttered bread. along with the possibility of taking away oversized paper cups of the American-style coffee made to any number of untraditional speciﬁcations: decaffeinated. whether small savory dishes or a selection of pastries. The latter may be freshly squeezed from citrus fruits such as oranges or lemons. nonsmokers are often seated right next to fumeurs (smokers). The interdiction is seen by many as an infringement on personal freedom. The fusty. one peels away the waxed paper wrapping that contains the juices. syrups. or simply watch people and the world go by. a lane for bowling running the length of the café.
As variations on earlier establishments. A more old-fashioned sort of café may have a football table for baby-foot. alcohols. the barrier dividing the two being quite imaginary and certainly ineffective. the opening of Starbucks cafés has added a new variety of chain. usually baguette) and pastries such as croissants along with café crème. chic. or a regular Sunday afternoon bingo game that neighborhood residents attend. AND BRASSERIES
Types of restaurants that emerged in the last quarter of the nineteenth century shape today’s culture of eating out. and restaurants and cafés are obliged to provide space for non-fumeurs. one chooses a bottled juice. apricot. grungy. whole. BISTROS. often they are simple and unpretentious. although levels of smoking are on the decline. Today there is little that is more typical than to sit in a café to talk with friends. apple. as one eats.
The term bistouille used in the North to mean a hearty mixture of brandy and hot coffee is a more likely source. although a recent trend that blurs this characteristic is for very chic restaurants to call themselves bistros. purée de pommes de terre (mashed potatoes). comfortable. bistros have been restaurants that serve alcohols and a relatively small selection of foods for one-course meals. roast chicken. The typical Parisian establishment also has its counterparts in the homey local places for other cities or regions. charbougna in the Auvergnat patois). unpretentious atmosphere. Because of the focus on drinking. especially bière à la pression (draft beer. but standard popular items include such classics as oysters on the half-shell. Brasser means to brew beer. Many have a distinctly Germanic or Flemish ﬂair. pork. such as the bouchon in Lyon and winstub in the Alsace region. steak-frites. beer on tap) and sometimes hard cider. There is a strong association to this term with a warm.120
Food Culture in France
derive from the injunction to hurry (bystra) up the food that Russians in Paris spoke to waiters. Rather. Historically. The term bistro is now used throughout the country for a restaurant. Bistros and restaurants have their own specialties or regional inﬂections. Since the late nineteenth century many Parisian bistros and cafés have been run by bougnats (from charbonnier. coal burner or porter. Today. omelets. a contemporary brasserie is a café or a restaurant that serves drinks. and a brasserie was a brewery where one went primarily to drink beer. poire à la belle Hélène or a poached pear served with vanilla ice cream and decorated with chocolate sauce. moules marinières (mussels cooked in the shell in a light broth ﬂavored with white wine). Some began selling wine. steak tartare. brasseries tend to stay open later than restaurants. along with a limited menu. These natives of the Auvergne initially came to Paris to sell coal mined in their region. Brasseries appeared during the Second Empire. then ended up running restaurants (including the famous Brasserie Lipp and the Café de Flore) and forming a tightly supportive community of regional expatriates based in the capital. and lamb). ﬂammekeuche (a thin crust like that of a pizza topped with caramelized onion and bits of bacon). A brasserie alsacienne serving food will offer Alsatian specialties such as cooked sausages. Brasseries that offer literally hundreds of different bottled and draft beers are sometimes referred to as bars belges (Belgian bars). sole meunière. tarte Tatin (caramelized upside-down apple tart).
. braised chicken or pintade (Guinea fowl) with tarragon sauce. few brasseries brew their own beer. or seared steak served with French fried potatoes on the side. increasing in number after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and the development of the train line linking Strasbourg to Paris. and baeckeoffe (a stew with thinly sliced peeled potatoes and a mixture of beef. choucroute (sauerkraut).
MESS HALLS AND CAFETERIAS
For many. and soup through the labyrinth of trenches directly to the front line. common soldiers in addition to mercenaries became more numerous in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During the belle époque and by the start of the twentieth century. Today. The late sixteenth century saw the organization of internal units whose task was speciﬁcally to provision troops.Eating Out
The rise of trains and then automobiles encouraged travel. where Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie regularly wintered. crusaders were quartered in the towns on their routes. the growth of tourism. substituting ﬁsh (including stockﬁsch). and bread. During the Middle Ages. highend restaurants appeared in the grand hotels. made fashionable other locations such as Cannes. and more variations on the restaurant theme. while sutlers tagged along behind to sell foodstuffs directly to soldiers. both private and military cooks and suppliers carried bread. In the notoriously abysmal conditions of the First World War.3 Now the
. good restaurants and the ﬁnest restaurants gastronomiques or restaurants gourmands are to be found all over the country. or specialized army cooks. Nice. in the countryside and in smaller towns as well as in the cities. and Biarritz. Paris still had the lion’s share of elegant dining spots. Eventually. not vegetable stew) a couple of times each week. Where waging war had long been the prerogative of the aristocracy. Most soldiers subsisted primarily on soup and had to share mess kits. Buffets de la gare and cafés de la gare became ﬁxtures in train stations. in the north and west of France. Vivandiers. adding ratatouilles (which in this context signiﬁed meat stews or ragoûts. Restaurants serving regional specialties and located far from the capital came into fashion. The turn of the century witnessed the spectacular collaborations between chef Auguste Escofﬁer and the enterprising Swiss hotelier César Ritz. eggs. Canned and jarred goods had met with a largely negative reaction throughout the nineteenth century. The pressing need to provision troops constantly on the move under Napoleon was answered by Nicolas Appert’s development of sterile jarring techniques. soldiers ate meat. The diet varied with geography and the circumstances of the hosts who “offered” them bed and board. wine. the daily experience of eating outside the home has taken place in a collective setting such as an army mess hall or a cafeteria in school or at work. in fact a compulsory gesture. military doctors intervened. rice. appeared in the eighteenth century. however. beans. later perfected with cans. The new modes of transportation. and dairy products on lean days. During the lengthy Wars of Religion in the sixteenth century.
The reformist. students were deprived of the morning meal. Today. on the one hand. Eating out as a student has ever been a conundrum: one is poor and always hungry. During the sixteenth century. such as cabbage.122
Food Culture in France
appearance of a jar of jam or a can of sardines boosted the morale of the beleaguered troops. One was not to cultivate the art of conversation. rely more on cafeterias than any other nation in Europe. but rather to keep silent throughout the meal while listening to a theological reading. educational institutions were run by the Church. Communication was reduced to a sign language speciﬁc to the table. Through the early years of the Third Republic (1870–1940). so that the student ate a home-cooked hot meal. For centuries. The French. the collèges instituted tables for 16 or 25 students in a salle commune. in contrast with the physically extenuating activities of the laborer. about 56 percent of meals taken outside the home are taken in an institutional cafeteria. It is easy to overlook the central role that cantines—cafeterias in collective settings—have played in daily life for the last century. as a young man Auguste Escofﬁer began his career in the ﬁeld. People often have the mistaken impression that taking a meal in a cafeteria is somehow an exceptional practice. cooking up miracles for French ofﬁcers participating in the Franco-Prussian conﬂict of 1870. conviviality. Ofﬁcers fared better than their troops. and the ideal of the family meal at home.6 The development of cafeterias owes to notions of equality traceable to the Revolution of 1789 and to the sense of secular social mission and conception of the public good that was cultivated during the Third and Fourth Republics. food in schools varied greatly. with much attention paid to fast days including the long month of Lent and every Friday. for instance to request the bread. Even in a wealthy school. not to mention intellectual exchange. with 40 percent of those meals at businesses. soup. the bursar might divert meal allowances to other purposes. As a result of the imposed silence and the exigencies of keeping one’s thoughts to sacred themes. whether of gruel.4 Most often school meals were vegetable soups. presumably was martyred at the table. to the detriment of the pupils’ palettes and stomachs. This is due to the prestige of ﬁne dining and commercial restaurants. In some medieval collèges. This could be placed on the stove for a few minutes at mid-day. on the other. and bread. however.5 Through the end of the nineteenth century. the student’s life was sedentary. as there was little in the way of dietary standards or accountability. 34 percent at schools. and 26 percent at hospitals and services related to hospitals. the best-fed pupils were often those who could afford to bring a gamelle (metal lunch-pail) from home. however. or stew. progressive principles took their effects
Ironically. it became a matter of necessity for students and workers to eat lunch at school or work. companies that did not run cafeterias began to offer meal vouchers for use in commercial restaurants. however. as an alternative beneﬁt.Eating Out
in both schools and business settings. Cooperative food stores for workers appeared in the late 1830s. The public schools are administered by municipalities. the government encouraged schools to provide warm meals to needy students during the cold months of the school year. the Ferry Law mandated that a public school education be made available to all children. their
. This automatically excluded at least one cafeteria meal from many schedules. did a law decree that companies having at least 25 employees who wished to eat at work must provide an eating area. Thereafter an emendation required that this location be outﬁtted for reheating food. there must at least be a designated space for doing so. After the Second World War and the associated problems of malnutrition.7 Not until 1913. and workers’ cooperative restaurants organized by trade date to 1848. In 1881. With the allocation of school budgets for cafeterias came strong associations with local politics. Measuring in terms of the percentage of total meals taken in cafeterias. Beginning in 1967. Today. The cafeterias that now serve lunch in nearly every sizeable business grew out of the development of labor unions and codes of workers’ rights. the practice of bringing food to school from home declined. If fewer than 25 employees wished to eat at work. As cafeterias became common. a student must demonstrate the need for a school lunch with formal attestations that his or her parents work or are seeking work and are thus unavailable at mid-day to provide lunch at home. liberal or capitalist economic practices have replaced some socialist and protectionist ones. Cafeterias took on a new importance in reestablishing the nation’s health and by extension its economic vitality. their use peaked in the late 1970s and has been declining. Cafeterias originated to provide a beneﬁt to workers. The cafeteria. was conceived as social intervention on a national scale. then. Since the 1980s. albeit slowly. The Aubry Law of 1998 reduced the workweek to a maximum of 35 hours for private companies having more than 20 employees. As a practical proviso. and this savings is passed on to workers. most students take the midday meal at school. As nonproﬁts. however. cafeterias are subject to lower levels of the TVA or taxe à la valeur ajoutée (VAT or value added tax) than applies to restaurants. such that companies may view maintaining cafeterias as an unnecessary expense. Schools had to balance issues of cost and efﬁciency with the wish to highlight typical regional dishes and the need to serve balanced and nutritious meals.
Gastronomic tourism was now established as a serious undertaking. a rating system for restaurants was introduced. resulting in less use of military cafeterias. of laurels for restaurants.
EATING OUT AND THE CULINARY HERITAGE
Interest in food as connected with particularities of place took on an especially clear deﬁnition in the twentieth century. The year of army service used to be obligatory for young men ﬁnishing their secondary education. for festivals or holidays having parades and other outdoor events. In 1926. if now also deeply controversial. A few years later and with a different
. established a new Guide pour les chauffeurs et les vélocipédistes (Guide for Drivers and Cyclists) to promote the automobile tourism that would increase their proﬁts. The title echoes that of the Tour de France bicycle race established in the late nineteenth century. and the comprehensive scope is suggestive.and eighteenth-century almanacs that listed boutiques and then restaurants. based in Clermont-Ferrand. and the ﬁrst descriptive restaurant guide published in the early nineteenth century. but mandatory conscription ended in 1997. In 1900. the Guide Michelin soon came to mention food and wine specialties for each region. In response. with important consequences for eating out. Two stars go to a restaurant that vaut le détour (is “worth the detour”) off of the main highway. and guidebooks such as the Guide Joanne circulated widely in the nineteenth century. Concurrent to the establishment of the Michelin rating system. for eating in the cafeteria keeps employees in the workplace and discourages lingering over lunch in a leisurely manner. The further distinctions of two and three stars appeared in the early 1930s. the novelist Marcel Rouff and journalist and food writer Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland) assembled the Tour de France Gastronomique published in 24 volumes between 1921 and 1928. The Michelin stars are still the most widely recognized. the large companies are evolving by catering for sports matches and tournaments. Following seventeenth. the tire company Michelin. and also by providing branded items for companies. Published travel accounts had been popular since the eighteenth century. in the form of a star to indicate a good table.124
Food Culture in France
presence on a company campus or in an ofﬁce is sometimes now felt as a constraint. The coveted third star indicates a menu of such quality that the restaurant is a worthy travel destination all by itself. a “very good” table in the elite category. A single star indicates une très bonne table. The rankings of the Guide Michelin (today called the Guide Rouge) are deﬁned relative to the road. and there was much to know about the culinary subcultures within the country.
The charter for this undertaking noted the “incomparable” richness of France’s culinary cultures. The idea was to expose as many individuals as possible to the riches of French culture and to ensure the creation of artistic and intellectual works that would continue to enrich it. One should. Curnonsky published another work on the same topic entitled the Trésor gastronomique de la France (1933). the gastronomic “treasury”). in short. the Malraux Law of 1962 was further designed to encourage cultural activity across the nation. capital. The state commissioned the publication of the Inventaire culinaire du patrimoine de la France (1992–1996). whether French or foreign nationals. The state. as well as the sense of history. During the second half of the twentieth century. as part of the economic and cultural rebuilding that followed the Second World War. then. the title is telling. Underpinning the ministry and legislation was the deep respect for the past. The document proclaimed the goal to acquaint not only visitors and foreigners but also French citizens themselves—who may be ignorant of their own culture—with aspects of the patrimoine and speciﬁcally with “the varied palette of our tables. In the 1950s. food and food mores increasingly became the focus of legislation that sought to institutionalize cultural practice. and the conviction that government intervention is necessary to foster and protect culture. note the fascination and bankability of the varied food and food customs of the entire country. Again. printed roadmaps and posted signs on highways throughout the country indicate national Sites remarquables du goût (Taste Sites Worthy of Note) as attractions for travelers and tourists. These attitudes would soon be speciﬁcally extended to food culture.”8 During the next decade. invests in the institutionalization of the culinary heritage and in the promotion of quality.Eating Out
collaborator (Augustin Croze). a set of 22 volumes that take “culinary inventory” of the country by region. To avoid the usual Parisian bias. His charge was to promote the héritage or patrimoine culturel (national cultural heritage). an undiscovered or unexpected windfall (as in hidden treasure). and a place where riches are kept. Since 1993. and it may be said to pursue a
. a strong sense of appréciation or understanding combined with enjoyment. Trésor means an investment. an initiative sponsored jointly by the state and various corporations began bringing chefs into schools for the annual fall Semaine du goût (Week of Taste) that gives children a practical course under professional supervision in eating traditional foods. or principle worth preserving (here. as in the Plat du terroir (Terroir Dishes) initiative begun in 1985. Charles de Gaulle appointed the novelist and diplomat André Malraux to head a new Ministère des affaires culturelles (Ministry of Cultural Affairs).
the sociologist Claude Fischler has named the alternative the OCNI: objet comestible non identiﬁé or Unidentiﬁed Comestible Object. For many people. a group of prominent chefs published a manifesto protesting “alien” and “exotic” combinations of ﬂavors and foods. or the sense of being compelled to live in a museum. Specialty producers such as ﬁne wine makers have long appreciated and often instigated the demand for distinguishing marks of authenticity. to serve commercial and political interests. notoriously. or identifying elements of culture as part of the heritage and then fulﬁlling the corresponding obligations to preserve them. can be felt to inhibit freedom. and of the patrimoine culinaire derive from real social practices and attitudes whose cultivation and preservation enrich the texture of daily life. Beyond the appreciation for what is fresh. During the 1990s. in the push and pull of daily life. It does so through speciﬁc legislation that complements regulation against fraud. The notions of regional cuisine and local specialty. There is great sympathy for this gesture. Inevitably. As a result. a feeling of alienation results. The appreciation for local. the tourist and export trades are notable beneﬁciaries. With trenchant wit and insight. or regional restaurant reiﬁes and afﬁrms one’s very Frenchness. that passes for food. The position is exaggerated. The process of patrimonialisation. identiﬁable. a site of culture if not historical preservation. Eating dinner in a typical. the prevailing response is pride in the culture. useful for business. today the source of ongoing tension within the country and. heavily commercialized. Chefs in elite restaurants (restaurants gastronomiques) may make special efforts to incorporate local and AOC items into their menus. These chefs called for a return to terroir and presumably to some sort of ideal state of absolute Frenchness. Thanks to careful packaging and marketing. and in a few cases invented. For others. traditional.
. yet has a clear resonance. and innovation. the effort to identify foodstuffs and thus to render transparent the links in the food chain responds to the general sense that it is better to know exactly what one is eating. with other nations in the European Union and beyond. the habitual practices and the self-consciously elaborated ones overlap and become closely intertwined.126
Food Culture in France
gastronomic and culinary policy. The restaurant is. a sense of belonging and participation. and policies of agricultural protectionism. highly processed “product” with no visible history or origin. authenticity in the culinary domain has become a more than usually vexed question. laws to protect health and safety. creativity. and AOC products can take extreme forms. by association.9 By this is meant the generic. These practices are also carefully cultivated. of terroir.
In a country where eating well is a passion shared by so many. Eating dinner weekly at a neighborhood bistro provides a sense of continuity and social connectedness. Gregariousness and conviviality are characteristic social traits. Those traveling for business or having a long daily commute cannot eat at home. it is easy to ﬁnd relatively inexpensive
A typical Parisian brasserie with café-style tables for sitting outside. Sampling a cuisine from another nation allows one to traverse continents simply by walking down the street. Busy work schedules make the option of being served dinner at the end of the day attractive. private space. Courtesy of Arnold Matthews.
. The motivations lie elsewhere. Eating out with a new acquaintance or a friend allows social bonds to deepen in a neutral yet comfortable and inviting setting. and the home is viewed as an intimate.Eating Out
RESTAURANT RHYMES AND REASONS
Few people today go out to eat because they lack facilities to cook at home. Because of the longstanding customs of eating out and the pervasive culture of socializing outside the home. Restaurants and cafés are moreover much appreciated as settings for social interaction. one may return repeatedly to a restaurant to enjoy a favorite création de la maison (house specialty) or to test the latest invention of a particular chef. Yet close friendships require time to develop.
restaurants must register the types of items to be served. A selection of dishes is offered for each of two or three courses at a ﬁxed price for the full meal. This is partially a matter of practicality. Within families or groups of friends. These are often used interchangeably.. bistro. To serve food. This would be viewed as quite rude. items from within the three-course menu choices). enjoy the pauses between courses. one goes to a “restaurant” to eat a full meal at noon or in the evening. it is common to order what is referred to as a menu or formule. when one goes out.e. serving coffee and drinks between and after meals. On the other hand. It is assumed that people will take their time to eat. and continue talking after the meal. and most bistros and brasseries serve full meals. Of course. As a result. It is considered courteous to order a similar sequence as one’s dinner companions (i. diamond-shaped label reading tabac that is stuck on the window) is licensed to serve as a tobacconist and sells cigarettes.e. there is discussion as to the choice of wine. A café-restaurant stays open all day and perhaps into the late evening. the various establishments may serve both food and alcoholic beverages. In practice. although the beverage will more likely be a glass of wine or a beer. bars are not particularly central to social
. Especially in smaller restaurants.. When one is ready to leave the restaurant. the sale of beverages is regulated by licenses that specify a maximum allowed alcohol content per beverage.128
Food Culture in France
places where one can eat a good meal in pleasant surroundings. Similarly. However. With the appropriate licenses. and so on. the degree of involvement of personnel in food preparation and service. Legally. eating out has rituals all its own. so that the meal progresses according to a similar rhythm for everybody at the table. and café. Currently the most common terms for eating and drinking establishments are restaurant. It is considered sociable to all drink the same thing and egotistical not to follow the general wishes of the group. it is only in a café that one may order as little as a coffee (i. After the meal. the sum is usually less than an à la carte total. brasserie. some cafés serve food. one requests the check from the waiter. A café-tabac marked with the carrotte (a red. l’addition (the check) is not brought to the table right away. many also serve beer and a selection of alcohols. this is also possible in some bistros and brasseries. Whether in a fancy restaurant or in a local café or bistro. only a beverage) and do so between meals. people discuss what they are thinking of ordering and from which menu they will choose.
BARS AND WINE BARS
Restaurants and most cafés serve wine.
Most tea shops have the distinctively French touch of the exquisite. Much like the specialized brasseries that serve many varieties of beer. With the recent fashion for drinking high-quality wines. bars that are so called (un bar) serving only wine. when alcohol was temporarily deregulated. Macaroons are well liked. the word bar owes its derivation to the French term (une barre de comptoir) for the foot-rest close to the ﬂoor near a counter where one stands to take a drink or to eat. beer. the tea cakes having a scallop shape and that launched thousands of words. Today. which may be served in small portions in the style of Spanish tapas or Turkish mezes. Today. beer. in large hotels. tea is drunk by a few anglophiles. as are madeleines. the wine bar offers a broad selection of bottles and is designed for sampling good wines. and alcohols during the evening hours. for the austere ritual elegance of Japanese customs of taking tea. Dipping one in a fragrant glass of lime (linden) tea. 1913–1927). the author Marcel Proust was overwhelmed with strong memories of his childhood and proceeded to write the lengthy semiautobiographical novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Time Past. The complement for tea is a pastry. some plain black teas may be ﬂavored from the addition of bergamot oil or extract of violet or rose. A selection of tisanes or herbal infusions is usually available as well.
Salons de thé (tea rooms) are few in number but enjoy a faithful clientele. or one of the more reﬁned forms of cookie. takes a secondary role as an accompaniment to the wine. Among tea drinkers there is much admiration for the variety of Asian and Indian teas. more women than men drink tea. and sometimes in large restaurants. Food. One orders a small pot of tea. The focus here is on tasting wine. Some cafés that remain open late at night function then as bars de nuit and tend to serve almost exclusively wine.Eating Out
life for most people. and for the British tradition of high tea. and drinks can be found in discos or nightclubs. Bars enjoyed a surge in popularity at the end of the nineteenth century. and the ambience is fairly sophisticated. by the highly educated. but they declined as an institution during the Vichy period. and by the health-conscious or those seeking to avoid the larger amounts of caffeine in coffee.
Madeleines • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake ﬂour • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder • pinch salt
. Nonetheless. choosing from a list of different kinds of leaves. a slice of tart. a new type of bar à vin or wine bar is in vogue.
is not typically referred to as exotique. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the fat part of the little cakes comes clean. Clearly. traditional regional
. lemony yellow. ﬁlling each shell to two-thirds full. With additional melted butter. whether of French or other national origin. Preheat the oven to 350° F. the sense of the exotic varies according to perspective. The use of these terms reﬂects the longstanding expectation that integration into French society is effected through assimilation into the culture. and salt. couscous is perceived as an everyday food.130 • • • •
Food Culture in France 3 large eggs 2/3 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter. make the term even more confusing. Spoon in the batter. melted and allowed to cool
Note: Madeleines are baked in special forms that give them their distinctive shape. reliable favorite. the large population of citizens and residents whose national or ethnic origins are not French makes the use of a term such as exotique unclear. and familiarity with a variety of foods as a result of travel and the global market. A specialist in the sociology and anthropology of consumption points out that for some. Add the vanilla. then stir in the melted butter. and set aside. Gradually fold in the ﬂour mixture. lightly brush the madeleine pans. familiar since the mid-twentieth century through the presence of immigrants from former colonies. gradually add the granulated sugar. Sift together the ﬂour. or restaurant cuisine that is not traditionally French. and they are often applied to foreign cuisines associated with immigrants. Continue beating until the mixture doubles in volume. Makes about 3 dozen. Changes in eating habits as a result of dietary concerns and issues of convenience. Add the lemon zest. assimilation has also worked in the other direction or not at all. Indeed. While continuing to beat the eggs. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until they are ﬂuffy and turn a pale. It ranks just behind steak-frites (steak and French fried potatoes) and gigot d’agneau (roast leg of lamb) as a familiar. cooking. and let them cool on a wire rack. At present. baking powder. Remove the cookies from the pans. however. North African couscous.
“EXOTIC” RESTAURANTS AND GLOBAL CUISINES
The terms exotique (exotic) and sometimes éthnique (ethnic) are used for any kind of food.
Restaurants serving cuisines from outside the French territory are reasonably popular. and Burkina. plat. Chinese restaurants are quite familiar in suburban areas and small towns. as well as cities. variety. They usually serve Cantonese and Hong Kong–style foods and organize menus according to the French sequence of entrée. and dessert. thin-crusted pizzas taken as a main course dish. Recently. Thai restaurants are a relatively new addition and usually have carefully annotated menus to warn against spicy dishes. to which most French eaters are not accustomed. British or Irish pubs and Tex-Mex restaurants can be found in the large cities and in some university towns. Although the complexity. Tunisian. These establishments are distinguished by a formulaic list of choices. are cafés sahéliens. Typical. in particular Columbia and Brazil. and Vietnamese restaurants date to the independence of the respective colonies and protectorates. Cameroon. Mali. and Mauritania who came to France starting in the 1960s and 1970s.10 It is useful to remember that foods such as tomatoes and potatoes that are now typical and essential in the regional cuisines are not native to French territory or even to Europe. having open counters that double as kebab and sandwich stands. sophistication. Greek and Turkish restaurants are often informal. and also by populations from Congo. Lebanese. The establishment of Algerian. the use of industrially prepared ingredients. and the practice
. in the Turkish restaurants. and rich history of the Chinese regional and provincial cuisines are comparable to those of France.Eating Out
dishes such as cassoulet or cuisses de grenouilles (frogs’ legs) are quite exotic. by and large undistinguished. Moroccan. These are working-class cafés operated and frequented by immigrants from Senegal. if practically unknown beyond the reaches of the urban working-class neighborhoods where they are found. this is not apparent in the restaurants. the nuances of Ottoman cuisine are hardly in evidence. Italian restaurants in France tend to specialize in pasta dishes and to serve individual. to include Tibetan food and the cuisines of South American nations. Indian restaurants and Japanese restaurants that mainly serve sushi rather than cooked dishes are found in the large cities. Varieties of North African restaurants and tea houses are relatively common and sometimes quite reﬁned. because they are not an accustomed part of the daily diet. new imports have further expanded the choices especially in the larger cities.11
FAST-FOOD AND RESTAURANT CHAINS
The rapid expansion of fast-food and chain restaurants began in the 1960s.
but accounted for 20 percent of sales. Ingredients have been industrially processed and prepared. freeze-dried. Livraison à domicile (delivery) for pizza. cooking (or heating).13 The use of industrially prepared foods in cuisine d’assemblage has penetrated to many traditional commercial restaurants and has led to hybrids. As of 1998. such as Quick and Flunch. The dishes are based on preassembled ingredients. on the principle that one will want to eat a decent meal as a break from a long trip. The goal is to create products of consistent quality and that vary as little as possible from one outlet or franchise to the next. enjoy mixed success. a parody of the industrialist Jacques Borel. Today. Pizza Hut and Dominos. with just under one for every eight traditional cafés or restaurants. they undergo ﬁnal stages of preparation. the restaurants were not popular. Following the principles borrowed from the United States of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford.12 One researcher points out that this may be in part precisely because the fast-food chain restaurants allow one to ﬂaunt conventions of good taste and eating well. There are numerous French chains and fast food restaurants. Initially.14 but one that has French imitators such as Speed Rabbit Pizza.5 percent of commercial restaurants. fast food restaurants are ubiquitous. Despite the culture of gastronomy and despite widely publicized and occasionally violent protests against the fast food restaurants.
. and the service is efﬁcient. from raw ingredients). founder of the hospitality ﬁrm now called Accor. the cooking processes are broken down into simple procedures that are standardized and designed for maximum efﬁciency. In the restaurant. with some adjustments to the menu including the availability of wine and beer. The largest share of the market is divided between two American concerns. and assembly. The impact and initial strangeness of the phenomenon to French eaters can be measured in Claude Zidi’s ﬁlm L’Aile ou la cuisse (1976). these eating establishments ﬂourish. and there were no real cooks. American chains including McDonald’s began opening stores in France in the early 1970s. as the service was brusque and impersonal or else one had to serve oneself at a counter. is a late-blooming phenomenon. three-course meals with traditional menus.132
Food Culture in France
of a highly rationalized cuisine d’assemblage (“assembly cooking” rather than preparing food from scratch. the success of individual franchises varies by region and adaptation to the local population. chains represented 2. or pizzeria chains. Restaurants dating to the 1960s such as the Courtepaille chain found in roadside service areas on the national highways serve full. Fast-food pizza. and vacuum packed. introduced by the American chains.
a small but growing number of restaurants have turned to creating establishments whose primary attraction is a nontraditional ambience of one sort or another. in an eating culture that has long privileged tradition.
LE FOODING AND NOVELTY RESTAURANTS
The semiologist and astute interpreter of culture Roland Barthes observed that food can be a situation or an event. Notable is the effort to translate the primary appeal of the new establishments to one’s individual sensations. a term coined by two journalists in 1999. quality. whether in a cafeteria. a ﬁne dining establishment. A degree of standardization is essential in nearly any professional kitchen. For the last few years.Eating Out
Readying cooked carrots and peas for service. to one’s emotional
. The noun is manufactured from the English words “food” and “feeling. to one’s personal experience and reactions. and norms. Nova magazine has been publishing a guide to fooding. As if taking Barthes’s observation for advice. or a fast food restaurant.” The awkwardness of the word well conveys the extremely unusual nature of these restaurants. Courtesy of Philippe Bornier.
such as in the mountains. during the summer. The aristocratic classes.
. or on the ocean. as much as eating the food. Extensive coordination and planning are required to unite large numbers of family members and friends in natural locations considered to be beautiful and offering good air to breathe and an attractive view to admire.15 Now. Rather. as an inexpensive mode of taking a vacation. Outdoor meals have a special appeal given that the contemporary lifestyle is primarily urban and that jobs keep people indoors and relatively sedentary. or that serve a “world food” cuisine.134
Food Culture in France
state. Alternatively. everyday meal a festive feeling. bio-végét (biologique-végétarien or organic and vegetarian). Favorites include roasted or rotisserie chickens. eating outside or in an attractive natural setting is a matter of choice. In the preindustrial era. adding an extra dimension of enjoyment. A picnic may be an impromptu lunch consisting of no more than a jambon-beurre (slice of ham in buttered baguette) eaten outdoors. In the seventeenth century. on the other hand. Terrace or courtyard tables are selling points for restaurants and cafés during mild weather. for the pleasure of being able to manger au dehors (eat outside). could make a party by having tables set up in a meadow. The guide to fooding does not rate for price and quality according to the recognized grids of classical cuisine and mid–twentieth century nouvelle cuisine. especially in the middle and upper classes. it lists nontraditional restaurants in categories that have more to do with personal identity or lifestyle. Today. An unobstructed view of the sky and a fresh breeze on the face are thought to enhance the meal. or perhaps some variety of fusion food. Cooking outside usually involves grilling or barbecuing fresh sausages and merguez. picnics in parks are popular. workers such as agricultural laborers often had to eat outdoors. The interest here is ambience and novelty. or a landscaped garden. manger en pique-nique (to eat picnic style) meant pooling money to share the expense of an improvised meal. near a river. Eating outside is felt to offer a break from the routine and doing so gives even a simple. People who have gardens or terraces set up tables even in tiny spaces. the association with an outdoor meal stabilized only in the mid-twentieth century. picnics may be quite elaborate affairs.
The French love to eat outdoors. as is camping. Its categories include restaus that are gay. Le fooding appeals in particular to younger people open to seeking a social experience or the experience of a place for its own sake. a shady glade. Other portable picnic foods are made in advance or bought already prepared.
8. 2002). During the summer on the hot. Fabrice Laroulandière.
. apricots. From stands set up at the edge of the beach. Trevor Cox and Chanelle Paul (Leiden and Boston: Brill. 7. regard des sourds (Nantes: Siloë.. Bruno Laurioux. 1990). Nostalgic Cooks: Another French Paradox. Claude Fischler. 6. Martin Breugel.Eating Out
hard sausages to be sliced and eaten with chunks of bread. 183–93 in Daniel J. Manger au Moyen Âge (Paris: Hachette.” Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine (January-March 1997): 40–67. L’Homnivore (Paris: Odile Jacob. Aude de Saint-Loup.” pp. 1997). 3. glaces (ice cream). 4. with the popular option of getting the fries right in the sandwich. There are also vendors for choux-choux or peanuts made crunchy with a praline coating. 5. vendors stroll up and down musically chanting the wares they carry on ﬂat trays: boissons fraîches (cool drinks. and coolers. Alimentations contemporaines (Paris: L’Harmattan. 1997).
1. Gestes des moines. baskets. 2005). trans.. café chaud (hot coffee). juice. 281–306 in Isabelle Garabuau-Moussaoui. and beignets or round jam-ﬁlled doughnuts covered with glinting granulated sugar. ﬂats of summer fruits in season such as peaches. usually bottles of mineral water. “La constitution de la spécialité gastronomique comme objet patrimonial en France. and Marc Renard. bags. 1997).” Le Monde (March 9. Isabelle Garabuau-Moussaoui. 36. 47. Julia Csergo. one can usually buy frites and meat kebabs served in a piece of baguette as a sandwich. 2006) and John Tagliabue.” pp. Les Ouvriers de Paris au XIXe siècle (Paris: Christian. thé à la menthe (mint tea). eds. Elise Palomares. “‘Un sacriﬁce de plus à demander au soldat:’ L’armée et l’introduction de la boîte de conserve dans l’alimentation française. Yves Delaporte. 2. 2006). “Les Français consomment moins d’alcool et de tabac. “The Ash May Finally Be Falling from the Gauloise. 115–16. or cherries. Mériot. 10. and Dominique Desjeux.” The New York Times (September 8. 1810–1920. L’Esprit des lieux (Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble. 209. Sandrine Blanchard. and bottles of wine and mineral water. eds. Sylvie-Anne Mériot. These items will be carefully packed and carried to the ideal spot in backpacks. heavily frequented Mediterranean beaches. and soda). 2002). Grange and Dominique Poulot. 158.” Revue historique 596 (October-December 1995): 260–83 and “Du temps annuel au temps quotidien: la conserve appertisée à la conquête du marché. 9. ﬁn XVIIIe-XXe siècle. “L’exotique est-il quotidien? Dynamiques de l’exotique et générations.
Julia Csergo. Olivier Badot. 13. eds. Palomares. 14. 12. Eating Out in Europe (Oxford: Berg. and Desjeux. “The Picnic in Nineteenth-Century France. “Esquisse de la fonction sociale de McDonald’s à partir d’une étude éthnographique. Palomares. 145–71 in Garabuau-Moussaoui.” pp. Lacourtiade. Pascal Hug. 123–41 in Garabuau-Moussaoui.’ ” pp. “ ‘La pizza dans le pays des autres. B. “Étude chaînes 1998” (Paris: GIRA-SIC Conseil. “Cafés sahéliens de Paris: Stratégies de ‘gestions du ventre’ dans un espace de manducation.
. 2003).. 139–59 in Marc Jacobs and Peter Scholliers. 83–121 in Garabuau-Moussaoui.” pp. Sylvia Sanchez. and Desjeux. 15. and Desjeux. April 1999).136
Food Culture in France
11. 2. Boutboul and A. Palomares.” pp.
such as Christmas (December 24–25). most people today celebrate holidays such as Noël (Christmas). Since the 1990s a trend to revive traditional agricultural and regional celebrations has served to afﬁrm local identity and preserve the sense of history.
RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
The holidays having a religious origin and that are observed by the greatest number of people in France derive from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The rest. That said. but it is also recognized that participation in shared festivities socializes children. there is a strong emphasis on celebrating personal days such as birthdays. of course. sustains family relationships. and ensures the integration of individuals into communities. Within families and circles of friends. Of the 11 days mandated as federal holidays.6
The care. A holiday atmosphere certainly prevails for the Sunday lunch with family and at the dinner party given on a Friday or Saturday evening for a few close friends. interest. observed on December 24 with the next day a holiday
. derive from Catholic religious observances historically connected with fasting. and most people celebrate them in a secular fashion. and enjoyment that so many people bring every day to cooking and eating bring a bit of holiday reverence and revelry to nearly any meal. a few are secular commemorations such as Bastille Day (July 14). This is typical savoir-vivre (knowing how to live well) applied at the table. Parties. on a daily basis. These holidays are now feasts. are simply fun.
from réveiller. especially salmon. Almost nothing is more typical than drinking sparkling wine for festive occasions. The old lean dishes are thus replaced on the holiday table by festive foods that suggest prosperity but are now within reach of many wallets. From the ecclesiastical requirement for a lean meal. Abstinence from all food was in principle required until after the midnight mass. baked or roasted salmon. and the former fasts have become secular feasts. and grains.
. and shrimp set out for the ﬁrst course of the Christmas meal. as well as the festive foods and gifts. and because of seasonal availability. Oysters and foie gras are favorite appetizers. One broke the fast at the réveillon (late meal after mass. vegetables. who like the sapin or tree decorated with lights that is mounted in the living room. The family celebration is a treat much anticipated by children. in a secular fashion. Through the
Platters of raw oysters and steamed mussels. clams. is now eaten throughout the year. December 24 was a fasting day in the Catholic calendar. and Champagne accompanies dessert. Roasted turkey stuffed with chestnuts is a standard main course. stockﬁsch (dried cod) for modest tables. People refer to the Christmas Eve meal as le gros souper (the big dinner). but no meat. to wake up) with ﬁsh. or turbot for the wealthy were typical. although the tradition is of recent vintage. Fish.138
Food Culture in France
from work. Good wines are saved for the occasion. Courtesy of Hervé Depoil.
1 Cold weather halted fermentation of the sugars before it was complete. For this reason the old tradition of giving gifts to children for la Saint-Nicolas (the feast of St. buttery yeasted cake studded with candied fruits and decorated with powdered sugar eaten in Alsace—and Spéculoos (spice cookies of Flemish origin) common in Picardie and Pas-de-Calais. Snails. As in the United States. and so on. marzipan confections. fruit pastes. Nicholas. The adventurous make their own bûches. Since the late nineteenth century. a sprinkling of powdered sugar to suggest snow. and regional specialties such as the Germanic Christollen (Stollen)—a dry. on December 6) has been somewhat eclipsed. Clever marketing transformed Champagne into an essential feature of important celebrations. The baked sponge is spread with a jam glaze. foods for Christmas Eve dinner may still reﬂect the regional staples and the custom of eating a repas maigre or meatless lean meal. aïoli (garlicky mayonnaise) or anchoïade (anchovies pounded with bread crumbs. and
. Children put out their shoes near a ﬁreplace or a crèche (nativity scene) in the hopes that they will be ﬁlled with gifts. as presents. baked meringue toadstools. sparkling wine was rare and drunk by the very wealthy. During the nineteenth century. producing carbon dioxide. The carbonation was not sought (nor added by the monk Dom Perignon. but it is common to order one from a pâtissier. For St. saving only cake and wine for the réveillon after mass. salt cod. then frosted with chocolate butter-cream. olive oil. electronic games. rolled. Nicholas’s Day the traditional gifts were pains d’épices or spice bread ﬂavored with honey. In the spring. whose aptitude as a vintner is mythical) but was rather the result of a happy accident in wine-making. careful cultivation and scientiﬁc modes of production made sparkling wines more plentiful. Other winter desserts that appear around Christmas and New Year’s are chocolate trufﬂes. Sparkling wines can be made wherever wine grapes are grown. and lemon juice) with artichoke hearts. bicycles. Chocolate shavings resembling tree bark. and cinnamon. patron saint of children. but the greatest prestige attaches to the ﬁnest bottles from the Champagne region. as well as alcohol. and a few holly leaves imaginatively transform the cake into a log plucked from the woods. Christmas is heavily commercialized. the Christmas meal ﬁnishes with a bûche de Noël or cake in the shape of the fruit-wood Yule log that was placed on the ﬁre as a symbol of plenty. and children now expect toys. cloves. Those who do attend the midnight service on Christmas Eve often divide up the meal.Special Occasions
end of the eighteenth century. The cake for the bûche starts as a ﬂat rectangle made from a light batter containing eggs but little or no butter. chemical changes resumed with warm weather. In Provence. and oranges and nuts.
bay leaf. slice it in half lengthwise and remove the green germ. salt to taste. To serve. and water in a pot.
Garlic Soup (Aïgo-boulido) • 8 cloves garlic • 5 cups water • 1 sprig fresh sage • 1 bay leaf • 4 tablespoons olive oil • salt • 3 very fresh egg yolks • pepper • 4 slices of bread. aged Cantal. just to mix. Divide the cheese among the four bowls.
The Provençal Christmas meal concludes with 13 desserts. sprinkling it on top of the bread. or apples.” actually a far more tasty garlic soup). gently beat the egg yolks with a wooden spoon. If the garlic is at all dry. using the tip of a knife. Ladle on the soup and serve piping hot. Bring the mixture to the boil. then pour on the rest of the broth. Turn off the heat. Pour in the olive oil. Grind fresh black pepper to taste onto the soup. or Parmesan Crush the garlic with your hand or with the side of a knife and peel it. Either vin cuit (wine with macerated fruit such as oranges) or chilled sweet wine accompanies the selection of desserts: fresh fruits such as oranges. place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each soup bowl. In the bottom of a soup tureen or large serving bowl.140
Food Culture in France
winter vegetables including chard and cardoons ﬁgure on the Christmas table. Another explanation matches a dessert each to Christ and the 12 apostles. water. and cook for 10 minutes. thought to symbolize the 12 months of the year plus the petit mois (little month) composed of the 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany. ﬂavorful aïgo-boulido (Occitan for “boiled water. The meal often begins with a simple. Put the garlic. tangerines.
. lightly grilled or toasted • 3/4 cup of grated hard cheese such as Gruyère. sage. Pour a ladleful of the boiled broth and garlic mixture onto the eggs and whisk together. The soup is also recommended as a cure-all for colds and aches and as a soothing restorative in case of gastronomic excess or hangover at any time of year.
” a description that is not inaccurate. As you knead. gibassier. Using a wire whisk. Pompe de Noël) • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast • 1 cup lukewarm water • 5 cups bread ﬂour • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/2 cup sugar • grated zest of 1 orange • 3 tablespoons orange ﬂower water • 6 tablespoons olive oil In a medium-size mixing bowl. as necessary. candied almonds. confections such as candied chestnuts. sprinkle on a bit of additional ﬂour.
. and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smoothly elastic and no longer sticky. sugar and lemon peel. The next day. An indispensable element is the plain pompe à l’huile.
Christmas Bread (Pompe à l’huile. dates. and allow to rise for about 2 hours. and light and dark nougats with nuts. if the dough is sticky. mix in 1 cup of the ﬂour to make a smooth batter. Form the kneaded dough into a ball. turn the dough out from the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel. or a lightly sweetened chard tart. Make a well in the center.Special Occasions
dried fruits and nuts such as raisins. and orange zest together in a large bowl. ﬁgs. and the sponge from the previous day. and pastries such as spinach tart made with olive oil or butter. sugar. almonds. a lightly sweetened bread enriched with olive oil and ﬂavored with orange ﬂower water or anise. stir the ﬂour into the liquids. mix 3 cups ﬂour. The name pompe à l’huile for the festive bread evokes the pomp and circumstance of the holiday celebration. or fougasse. Place it back in the mixing bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon. until the mixture is fairly uniform. until doubled in volume. and walnuts. up to 24 hours. Lightly ﬂour a work surface. Let the sponge batter sit overnight. stir together the yeast and warm water. With a pun it also literally means “oil pump. olive oil. A whole melon carefully candied in syrup over two weeks at the end of summer may appear as the crown jewel of the holiday sweet spread. Place the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen. salt. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. incorporating it gradually ﬁrst from the center and then from the edge of the bowl. hazelnuts. then pour in the orange ﬂower water.
Lightly grease two baking sheets.
Épiphanie or la fête des Rois commemorates the manifestation (épiphanie) of the infant Jesus to the Magi. customs for Epiphany are now largely secular and family-oriented. Use your hands to ﬂatten. and pull the dough. People eat several galettes through the course of the month with family groups and with friends.
. To mark the day people eat the galette des Rois or gâteau des Rois (“kings’ cake” or Twelfth Night pastry). then turn it out of the bowl onto the work surface. then make perpendicular cuts. then place the disks two by two on the sheets. so that the disks are about 1/2-inch thick. shaping each piece into a ﬂat. Near the winter solstice. Throughout January. Makes four loaves about 8 inches in diameter. If necessary. It is a quiet family gathering or a good excuse to get together with friends for a more relaxed evening than the rigorous celebrations of the preceding couple of weeks. bring the breads whole to the table and break off square chunks where they are scored. the youngest child in the room gets to hide under the table and to ask the question: Who will be the king? The evening requires having a gilt cardboard couronne (crown) in reserve. and noisy bibbers chose a king from among their own numbers. and leave for the ﬁnal rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. The person whose piece of pastry contains the fève—referred to as such even if the object is not a bean—is crowned king or queen. which is in the shape of a crown. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. round disk. bakeries supply galette to the steady stream of buyers. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Use a clean razor blade or very thin. January 6 is given as a holiday. whole almond. This is baked into a round disk or a ring whose center is ﬁlled with cherries or prunes. turn over. Cut parallel lines into the dough about 1/4-inch deep and at intervals of 1 inch. the galette can be a yeastleavened pain brioché or dough enriched with eggs and also butter. until golden brown and crusty. A fève (dried bean).142
Food Culture in France
Punch the dough down. The simplest version is plain ﬂat puff pastry glazed with egg. they will sound hollow if you tap the bottom with your ﬁngers. Epiphany occasioned festival debauchery. and divide it into four. As with most holidays. thick almond custard is usually spread between two layers of puff paste. or porcelain trinket is tucked into the paste or dough before it is baked. A lightly sweetened. use a rolling pin to ﬂatten the dough. Cool completely on wire racks before eating. sharp. Cover the breads with towels. In the South. When they are done. Today. pointed knife to score the surface of the breads in a checkerboard pattern. While the cake is being served. To serve.
The celebration in Nice was especially famous. enlever les viandes or to take away meats) lasted the weekend or entire week. festival aristocracy that mocked the exclusions based on bloodlines long key to privilege in the everyday world. little ceremony outside of regular family meal customs marks the day. Carnival included the ludic selection of a king and queen who presided over a Feast of Fools. people eat golden-brown butter cookies called navettes (boats).2 The wild. people prepared ﬂoats and masks for the festive procession. sometimes violent play and the disguises for Carnival made free with the usual social order. and plenty of butter or oil. 1225) has a mild version in a topsy-turvy carnival atmosphere. large prairie mushrooms. spread with jam such as apricot or cherry. Through the mid-twentieth century. For months beforehand. In the port city of Marseille. which was accompanied by showers of ﬂower petals. Today. so the cookies puff out while baking. and crêpes are typical. The crêpes are eaten rolled up with a bit of sugar.. and fresh cheeses. not only rich foods but also an orgiastic period of revelry directly preceded Lent. In recollection of the presentation of Christ in the temple and the puriﬁcation of the Virgin Mary. Carnival parades and processions were often quite elaborate. Carnaval (from the Latin carnem levare. February 2 was also the day for attempting to predict how long winter weather would continue. and fowl against the ﬁsh and vegetables. ending with mardi gras. This was done by observing animals in their lairs. shaped as their name suggests.Special Occasions
Rich pancakes and pastries feature in the end-of-winter holidays that preceded the Lenten fast in the Catholic calendar. Crêpes are traditional for la Chandeleur (Candlemas or Candle Festival) observed on February 2. The commoner king and queen were an invented. pancakes. For mardi gras (Fat or Shrove Tuesday). The dough is patted into large. meats. with the characters slinging rotten crab apples. fat. Historically. and the ritual battle between Carnaval and Carême—or standoff between the Fat and the Lean—was a big food ﬁght pitting sausages. people went to church to have a candle blessed. Social theorists and historians have observed that turning le monde à l’envers (the world upside-down) through festivals such as Carnival doubtless released tensions that might
. the candle was lighted at auspicious moments during the rest of year for good luck. In rural areas. people eat rich desserts made with milk and eggs. i. or ﬁlled with a purée of fresh fruit. The medieval fable Aucassin et Nicolette (ca.e. the last day before the start of Carême (Lent) on mercredi saint (Ash Wednesday). almond shapes that are scored down the middle. bugnes or oreillettes (knotted or twisted strips of dough that are fried). to see whether they showed any signs of emerging from hibernation. Beignets (doughnuts).
with its paid holidays and personal celebrations. Pâques (Easter). Children receive chocolates and candies in the shape of ﬁsh. The réveillon (late meal) usually lasts at least until midnight. foie gras. chickens. with many of the festive foods typical for Christmas: oysters. is celebrated with roast lamb. with a thanksgiving meal of roast goose and new wine. On the jour de l’An
. roasted or stewed kid goat. is as likely to be in people’s thoughts. on Corsica and in some southern cities. blanquette d’agneau (white stew made with lamb). and people set off noisy pétards (ﬁrecrackers) and light sparklers. a roast beef. The 40 lean days anticipating Easter recall Christ’s fast in the desert and struggle against diabolical temptation. Hard boiled eggs are put in salads and baked whole in dishes ﬁnished in the oven.
If Christmas and the winter religious holidays are spent with family. the federal holiday on the same day. people enjoy the rich desserts on Fat Tuesday. in the pictures of the Niç ois artist Gustav-Adolf Mossa suggest the months of careful preparation that went into Carnival. In today’s secular. la Saint-Martin. and so on. la fête de l’Armistice commemorating the armistice of 1918. much less for the full 40 days. After Carnival one was probably only too glad to withdraw into the asceticism of the sainte quarantaine or Carême (from the Latin quadragesima or fortieth day). and some eat ﬁsh on Ash Wednesday and on Lenten Fridays. marking the resurrection of Christ and symbolized by a spring lamb. However. when corks pop and people drink a glass of Champagne to bring in the New Year. and rabbits to suggest life and seasonal renewal. democratic society. la fête de Saint-Sylvestre or New Year’s Eve is usually spent with friends.144
Food Culture in France
otherwise manifest in a much more destructive fashion. in the Old Testament. traditionally closed the harvest season and marked the end of agricultural work for the year. eggs are mixed up into omelets. or. The period also resonates with the 40 days of the ﬂood. a roast goose or turkey. eating and drinking. They also show just how big the blowout was. The meal is as elegant as possible. The extraordinary scenes of parades and costumes. November 11. and few people observe the old Lenten dietary restrictions. Today. the 40 years of the reign of King David. Carnival has declined to the status of a minor tourist attraction. eggs. a ham. Municipal feux d’artiﬁces (ﬁreworks) are common. and they enrich breads and cakes such as the rich pain de Pâques (Easter bread) from the Vendée called alise pacaude.
and so on. The pièce montée or pastry “set piece” is a carefully constructed dessert designed to dazzle the eyes as well as the palate. sugar has been used to coat spices for comﬁts and nuts for dragées. In the early nineteenth century. sweetmeats) or sugar-coated almonds as favors to guests at weddings and baptisms is a custom with ancient roots. are layered and stacked up (montés) into a tall pyramid. Since the Renaissance. Today the pièce
. The Greeks and Romans ate honey-coated nuts. and other people whom one sees throughout the year. treated in his illustrated books Le pâtissier royal parisien (1815) and Le pâtissier pittoresque (1815 and 1854). proﬁteroles or round pastry puffs ﬁlled with vanilla custard. but who are outside the close circles of family and friends. Even for the most complex design. understood as symbols of fecundity. Essential for both occasions and also for weddings are a pièce montée and dragées. Choux fourrés. January 1 is also the day for tipping mail carriers. and close friends. a holiday from work. along with sugar sculptures.Special Occasions
(New Year’s Day). can be traced to the aristocratic tables of the medieval and renaissance eras. the parents offer a festive lunch or dinner to family members. The classic pastry set piece is the conical croquembouche (“crunches in the mouth”). Medieval apothecaries distributed honey-coated spices such as coriander and fennel as medicinal breath fresheners and aids to digestion. The festive pastry set pieces. Now a pièce montée made out of puff pastry is an integral element to middle class and upper middle class celebrations. cars. ﬂowers. Distributing sachets of dragées (from the Greek tragêmata.
Even among the large population of nonbelievers. found great play for his creativity in the pièce montée. the chef Marie-Antoine Carême. After the church ceremonies. The pastry tower is drizzled with caramel that hardens to a shiny gleam and adds texture contrast. which can then be ﬁlled with cream. merchants. it is fairly common to observe the sacramental rituals of church christenings for babies and ﬁrst communions for older children. the godparents. Carême insisted that all parts be edible. but imaginative pâtissiers also make puff pastry swans. friends exchange étrennes or little gifts to inaugurate the coming year. The cone shape is always considered appropriate and attractive. such as an elegantly realized shady grotto or neoclassical façade. They are fairly costly and almost always ordered from a baker. The showy desserts—tours de force that required a large kitchen staff and luxury ingredients including sugar—were status symbols that accrued prestige to the host. who ﬁrst trained as a pâtissier and was fascinated by architecture.
Anniversaries. also traditionally a religious sacrament.
montée is often decorated with a few dragées. The couple chooses rings. boned and stuffed fowl such as Guinea hen or capon. and cheese. Inaugurations.146
Food Culture in France
Caterer Farnier’s shop window in Blanzy advertises cooking for “All Receptions: Family Meals. Marriages. Cocktails.” Courtesy of Janine Depoil. In either case. Baptisms. Wedding foods tend to be high-status items that are presented as elegantly as possible. A site for the party must be found and rented. and cutlery along with additions for the kitchen. with ﬁsh and then meat). lobster. roasted monkﬁsh. Business Meals. The wedding meal is designed according to the couples’ tastes. Buffets. Banquets. Weddings. The bride selects a gown. There are meetings with ﬂorists and caterers to plan the decorations and meals. A series of four or ﬁve or six courses includes potage. Menus often include foie gras. middle class and upper middle class wedding parties are carefully choreographed affairs that may involve a weekend-long party and great expense. Communions. entrée. Dessert is
. glasses. salad. with the most common requests being new sets of plates. but is on the scope of a banquet. plat (or sometimes two. as in the United States. Apéritifs. Although most couples live together before marrying and have fully functioning households. Formal invitations must be printed and sent. people sign up for the listes de mariage (registry) to orchestrate the gifts that are given. even for a so-called menu champêtre (rustic or country menu). usually white or silver for a wedding or baptism. are today usually secular family occasions.
Couples celebrate anniversaries with each other. to an evening party given at the home that already has been established. although some couples choose a gâteau à étages or layer cake. and all bring a gift. when the majorité was lowered from 21. Now the Anglo-Saxon custom of celebrating one’s own anniversaire or jour annniversaire (birthday) prevails. Since 1974. sometimes the parents decide to marry later on. In addition to full-on weddings. afternoon parties announced with written invitations enlarge on the four o’clock goûter. from a gathering of friends and family at a favorite restaurant. individuals quietly observed their name days according to the Catholic calendar with its commemorations of the deaths and ascensions of the various saints. About 30 percent of children are born outside of wedlock. The birthday cake is usually a plain cake that will appeal to children. For the family meal. After a funeral. For children. Some marry at the local town hall but forego the religious celebration and traditional wedding. the favorite foods of the birthday person often ﬁgure on the menu. Sparkling apple juice called champomi (from Champagne and pomme for “apple champagne”) is also popular. Entertaining savories such as oeufs durs farcis (stuffed hard-cooked eggs). and there is strong social pressure to stage parties for friends and family. parties to celebrate personal relationships assume many forms. the eighteenth
. perhaps with a romantic dinner out. or croque-monsieur (hot ham sandwiches pressed ﬂat in an iron) may be offered ﬁrst. stuffed tomatoes. The cake is brought to the table studded with lit candles that the birthday person tries to blow out in one great breath. along with other children. Avoided by many parents because of the sugar content. such as a white or chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
Before the 1950s. and they are served for the exceptional occasion of the birthday. the bereaved family traditionally offers a collation or luncheon to their guests. soft drinks are considered a great treat by children. a civil alliance available both to heterosexual and to homosexual couples. It is quite common for couples to live together without marrying and to start families. others marry through the PACS or pacte civil de solidarité. the regular afternoon snack. who reciprocate by giving gifts. Family members and the child’s godparents attend.Special Occasions
the obligatory coupe de Champagne and spectacular pièce montée. crêpes garnished with an egg or piece of ham. Adults give their own birthday parties. Since 1999. but give large parties for important milestones such as the 25th and 50th anniversaries.
At 18 one can vote. Older teenagers are usually quite accustomed to drinking small amounts of wine as a part of the family meal and alcohols in the form of an apéritif.
birthday marks the passage into adulthood. for the quarter-century. and then the decade markers. a vin d’honneur
. A vernissage or gallery opening. At business or academic conferences. whose name borrows from the American cocktail party.
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS
To mark achievements at school and work. may be the occasion for a cocktail. people invite colleagues and teachers. with speeches and toasts to accompany the lifting of glasses. Since the 1970s. Other important birthdays are the 25th. takes place at weddings before the dinner. an occasion to celebrate an entire career. or a gathering of business partners and colleagues. to a ceremonial apéritif or pot (drink). The right to purchase alcohol at age 18 is essentially a formality. and drink alcoholic beverages legally. The 60th birthday often coincides with a retirement party. drive. rather than a rite of passage. Courtesy of Nadine Leick. family and friends.148
Food Culture in France
Carrying the birthday cake from kitchen into dining room. a vin d’honneur.
may be drunk in tribute to an important speaker or guest, with canapés (light appetizers) to accompany the glass of wine, Champagne, or kir, before dinner. The verb arroser means “to water” or “to sprinkle” and by metaphorical, argotic extension to celebrate with a drink. A person who has just passed an important examination, defended a doctoral thesis, or even bought a new car invites family and friends to an arrosage.
People who have just moved into a new house or apartment invite guests to pendre la crémaillère. The phrase recalls the ceremony of hanging a rack or trammel in the chimney to hold the stock-pot over the ﬁre. This done, one could cook, making the house inhabitable. People usually give parties with a buffet for the pendaison de la crémaillère, both to inaugurate the new place, and to make family and friends feel welcome. Foods are selected according to personal taste and the ease with which they can be served and then eaten from small plates as people circulate around the party. Common buffet items include platters of artfully arranged crudités or charcuterie, bouchées de fromage or savory baked puffs ﬁlled with a bit of cheese, salads of greens or grated carrots, hachis parmentier or shepherd’s pie, slices of roast beef served at room temperature, a stew such as a southern daube or North African tagine, fruit salad, wedges of apple tart, and slices of quatre quarts (pound cake) or chocolate cake.
Le Quatorze juillet, or le jour de la Bastille (July 14), is the national holiday commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris at the start of the Revolution of 1789. Only a handful of prisoners were found, but the riot symbolized release from the oppressive shackles of the ancien régime social and political orders. Bastille Day brings tremendous collective celebrations. Cities and towns organize ﬁreworks, déﬁlés (parades), and outdoor concerts and dancing. The immense Paris parade is always televised. Other spectacular events include the ﬁreworks off the picturesque Pont d’Avignon, which dramatically breaks off halfway across the Rhône River. Families and community groups such as volunteer ﬁremen, military veterans, and hunting clubs set up the outdoor barbecue for une grillade, a mixed grill that might include merguez, steaks, and lamb chops. For fun, people improvise foods with the bleu blanc rouge (blue, white, and red) of the ﬂag: cocktails made with layers of strawberry syrup on the bottom, and then mixed vodka and anisette, and ﬁnally Curaç ao; scallops
Food Culture in France
garnished with reddish-orange salmon eggs to be served on a bright blue plate; and desserts of blueberries, fruits rouges (raspberries, strawberries, cherries), and cream or fromage blanc. Since the 1980s, events now staged annually such as Youth Day, Gay Pride (also called Euro-Pride or la Marche des ﬁertés), and the Techno Parade have the proportions and feelings of civic festivals, with parades, music, and plenty of eating, drinking, and revelry out of doors. As in many countries, sporting events such as soccer matches—a national passion— the Tour de France bicycle race, and marathons similarly offer something of the collective holiday experience.
TRADITIONAL LOCAL AND REGIONAL FESTIVALS
In recent years a great effort has been made to continue or revive traditional regional and agricultural celebrations. Most villages and small towns have a fête votive, fête patronale, fête du pays, or kermesse celebrating the town’s patron saint. The festivals usually take place during the warm months, from May through October. They are ﬁxed to a Sunday closest to the saint’s day, and last a weekend or three days. The festivals often were tied to a communal activity for farming, such as planting, harvesting, or threshing, and many have ancient pagan roots. Today, there is great appreciation for the fêtes votives and also fêtes folkloriques, as they are thought to preserve and teach about local customs including dress, regional styles of dancing, and gastronomic specialties. For a fête patronale or other local occasion, a special mass may be observed in the town church, and vendors set up outdoor markets and ﬂea markets in the main street or square. Other festivals revived largely since the early 1990s are the May and December fêtes de la transhumance. It was customary to drive cows, sheep, and goats up to high ground for summer grazing. The descent back down to lower meadows and plains then followed the harvests. Today, trucks usually move the cattle, but the transhumance festivals are popular again especially in the late fall, when local cheeses made with the summer’s rich milk can be sold. The fêtes des vendanges or des moissons or d’abondance were feasts offered to harvesters to thank them for their work and celebrate the year’s bounty. New versions commemorate the old agricultural calendar and artisanal methods of work. The festivals are of great historical interest and are good for tourism. In recent years, they have also become vehicles for a certain revivalist, nationalist sentiment nostalgic for la vieille France; “old” here means Catholic France.
Demonstrating the mechanics of a wine press, in Grimaud. Courtesy of Janine Depoil.
On a larger scale, city or regional fêtes are often associated with a special cultural practice, although some of these are of modern vintage. Highlights of the festivals vary according to region. In Nîmes there is bull-ﬁghting, although the bull is never killed, as in Spain. The international ﬁlm festival takes place each May at Cannes, the theater festival in July in Avignon, and operas are staged throughout the summer in the Roman theatre at Orange. Organized on the model of these cultural festivals, newer fêtes gourmandes organized to promote the patrimoine have ﬂourished in recent years. Local restaurateurs, producers, and the municipal authorities collaborate to stage fairs that focus on local produce, from chestnuts to wine. Manifestations gastronomiques or gastronomic events take many forms, such as a tournée des restaurants where people make the rounds of participating restaurants to sample local dishes. Foires (fairs) have a carnival atmosphere like that of an amusement park. Foires or fêtes foraines formerly were associated with yearly outdoor markets (marchés forains) visited by itinerant merchants and traders. Today, the foires are heavily commercialized. Itinerant carnival workers set up lotteries, games, and rides. Vendors sell grilled merguez placed lengthwise in a piece of baguette, barbes à papa (“dad’s beard” i.e., spun sugar cotton
Food Culture in France
Alain Gontard’s restaurant in La Pacaudière announces an “open table” as part of the local gastronomic festival. The restaurant specializes in duck cookery including foie gras de canard. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact.
candy), nougats, spice bread, wafﬂes, guimauves (marshmallows), and the adored chichi, a long, ﬂat beignet made of yeast dough ﬂavored with orangeﬂower water and sprinkled with granulated sugar. The mercantile aspect of the old foires is recalled in today’s salons and expositions for producers of wine and brandies. These can be quite fancy affairs with a busy boutique atmosphere. Their attraction is increased by the fact that an invitation card is required for entry and tasting.
NEW HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
Since the 1990s, American customs associated with Halloween on October 31 have been heavily commercialized, and Halloween is now quite popular among children. Adults have had mixed reactions, ﬁnding the macabre emphasis on ghosts and skeletons unappealing, but children love wearing costumes and masks, carving citrouilles (pumpkins), and receiving sweets. Halloween celebrations have for the moment overshadowed la Toussaint (All Saints’ Day, November 1), a traditional religious holiday, today one of the federal holidays.
and the fête des Mères (Mother’s Day). 1984).” Aucassin et Nicolette (ca. canto 31. 1225).
. When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. The other spouse and the children offer gifts and either do the cooking or treat everybody to an evening out. Kolleen M. ed. These days are celebrated with a festive family meal. instituted in 1949 as the third Sunday in June. “Il avoient aportés/des fromage[s] fres assés/et puns de bos waumonés/et grans canpegneus canpés. 2003).Special Occasions
Also modeled after American counterparts are the fête des Pères (Father’s Day). 28–9. the last Sunday in May.
1. Guy. Jean Dufournet (Paris: Flammarion. 2.
At present. Genetically modiﬁed foods and agribusiness practices are perceived as threats to a healthy diet. milk. During the
. and contemporary agricultural and manufacturing practices also create dietary dilemmas. bread. In rural areas. legumes. grignotage (snacking) replaces or augments the cycle of three daily meals. abundance. or cheese. are on the rise. and vegetables from the kitchen garden had been the building blocks of daily meals. the modern lifestyle. Problems related to overconsumption. Across economic classes.
BALANCE. As in other afﬂuent nations. Animal protein was likely to be in the form of eggs. MODERATION. while contributing to the quality of life that is so highly valued. but prices ﬂuctuated and the best cuts were quite expensive.7
Diet and Health
Abundance and variety have characterized the diet in France since the end of the Second World War. meat consumption increased substantially during the nineteenth century. the widely felt need for precautionary and protective measures shapes the response to matters of diet and health. such as obesity. For some. although meat consumption varied by region. the French associate taking the full three-course meal with a sense of well-being and with being in good health. however. In cities. AND PLEASURE
The variety of foods that is now available to the broadest swathe of the population has not always been a feature of the diet. The structured family meal provides nutritional balance and conditions daily eating for most people.
under the PAC or Politique agricole commune (CAP or Common Agricultural Policy). are equally necessary
. rates of alcoholism and diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver were high through the mid-twentieth century. farmers sent their best meat and dairy products off to the German Reich. dairy. and fresh and aged cheeses are very important. The use of butter. Bread retains a strong symbolic importance. The view that wine is healthful has not disappeared. dairy products.” is popular. lamb. inexpensive supply of beef. hunger and diseases that result from dietary deﬁciencies had not been eradicated. the broad preference for cooking with vegetable oils such as sunﬂower oil stems from their lower prices. Conviviality and social connection. The American practices of counting calories and weighing portions would seem quite strange to most people. Rationing at home allowed for only 1. and beef farmers. At present. farmers adopted modern industrial techniques. Yogurt. on the one hand. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables are eaten. As recently as the mid-twentieth century. eating in the company of friends or family. and grains made the earlier shortages and ﬂuctuations a thing of the past. Eating a variety of fresh foods is more generally understood as key to une bonne nutrition or une alimentation saine (good nutrition. however. the European Union began giving massive subventions to French grain. In 1962. which has been heavily marketed as a healthy way to “eat milk. on the other. and information about health beneﬁts associated with unsaturated vegetable oils and the Mediterranean diet. and variety is precisely what characterizes the full meal with its complement of three or four different dishes. Dairy products. whether beef. Overproduction and a reliable. eggs. and vegetable oils used to vary largely by region. Afﬂuence and modernization associated with the Trente glorieuses or Thirty Glorious Years of rebuilding after the war resulted in signiﬁcant changes. Wine was long viewed as a healthy. Culinary quality and sensual appreciation of food are essential to the perception that one is eating well. but consumption of wine has declined. pork. and life expectancy dropped drastically during the Vichy years. a diet that is healthy).156
Food Culture in France
Occupation of the 1940s. strengthening beverage and in this sense was seen as quite distinct from distilled alcohols. animal fats such as lard and goose fat. Using PAC funds. charcuterie. Despite this perception.200 calories per day by 1943.1 The beneﬁts of eating the full three-course family meal are thought of in a holistic fashion. The purpose of the assistance was to guarantee a stable food supply. Today the centerpiece of most middle class meals in France is meat. including milk. or fowl. but consumption has declined in favor of animal proteins and fresh produce. Nutrition is only part of the recipe. including raw salads and crudités.
THE FRENCH PARADOX
In the late 1980s and early 1990s.
. Similarly. and the British. modération (moderation). The French. it was observed. famous for foie gras and rib-sticking cassoulet. the respite from the activities of the day imposed by the slow rhythm of the full meal. regularly drank wine and ate all sorts of foods rich in animal fats. American and French researchers identiﬁed a phenomenon they named the French Paradox. Courtesy of Christian Verdet/regard public-unpact. the baked meat and
Enjoying a good meal and a glass of wine with friends contributes to quality of life and good health à la française. cannot be discounted. The sense of pleasure and balance guide the practical aspects of cooking and serving daily meals. The very lowest rates of coronary disease were measured in the southwestern Languedoc region. northern Europeans. and plaisir (enjoyment) to name the salient features of eating well and harmonieuses (harmonious) to describe the ensemble of practices that go into eating well. which received extensive coverage in the media. such as determining the relatively small portion sizes for individual components of a meal. yet lower mortality rates from cardiovascular and coronary diseases. such as cheeses and butter. People use the terms équilibre (balance).Diet and Health
ingredients. Relative to Americans. they had comparable or higher cholesterol levels.2 Spending time at table and taking pleasure in eating are as important as what is eaten.
and 10 weeks of paid maternity leave from their jobs. AND BREASTFEEDING
Women expecting babies are notorious for having sudden.158
Food Culture in France
bean stew that is generously enriched with goose or duck fat. People spend more time at table for meals. Nearly universal access to high quality health care through the national sécurité sociale (social security) and emphasis on preventive care contribute to the health of the population. Making minor adjustments to the diet in response to the changing state of the body during pregnancy is recommended. few cut these items out of
. however. (Lifespan for women is more than 83 years. At the same time.4 Physical activities such as walking have a larger place in people’s daily routines. but a régime équilibré (balanced diet) is the order of the day. the longest in Europe. cheese. BIRTH. tend to prevent one from eating too much. The rituals of serving and sharing food and of politeness such as ﬁnishing up at about the same time as one’s table companions. Compared with their American equivalents. as well. yet they eat less. socializing. lacking trace minerals) water as possible. The health insurance system guarantees women prenatal care. stores. Mineral waters with a high magnesium content are useful against the common problem of constipation. In case of any complication. for instance. vegetables. then.. a doctor is called. yet enjoying good health. in addition to meats. and wine. including a minimum of ﬁve required prenatal visits to the doctor. was a people eating a dangerously delicious diet. strong envies (cravings). Most women reduce the amount of coffee and wine during pregnancy to avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.e. Mealtime is strongly associated with relaxation. The French diet is varied.
PREGNANCY. a hospital stay that lasts four to ﬁve days under normal circumstances at the time of the birth. grains. homes. and recipes are small. portion sizes in restaurants. Beyond the constant admonition to drink as much plain “pure” (i. as this is seen as self-indulgent and quite unnecessary. Doctors discourage women from putting on too much extra weight during pregnancy. Midwives commonly deliver babies. but rather as an enhanced state of health and femininity. and enjoyment. How was this contradiction to be explained? Various answers have been proposed to explain the so-called paradox. moderation in all things is recommended. Moderate consumption of wine or other alcohols can play a role in counteracting the effects of cholesterol.3 Here. and legumes. Other factors are important. Pregnancy is not seen as an inﬁrmity.) Each of these elements in the diet and lifestyle plays a role in maintaining health. It includes relatively high proportions of fruits.
honey. available in the supermarchés. an occasion for celebration. then cooked puréed vegetables. yogurt and fromage blanc. such as clothing. boiling. At about six months. and doctors recommend that they stop at three months. if it continues to appeal. babies are offered purées de fruits. such as ﬂowers and bottles of Champagne. The birth of the child is. At the same time. in addition to breast milk or formula. and perhaps a small glass of wine with dinner. As the baby begins to eat solid food. and eventually
. It is recognized that breastfeeding a newborn is highly beneﬁcial to the child. people buy petits pots (jars of baby food) or make food at home. socialization. The exception is raw salads and raw vegetables that cannot be peeled. a greater variety of vegetable purées are proposed. If the mother does not want to or cannot. cod. Except in the case of a speciﬁc health problem or intolerance. as if to do so might hold back the infant in the earliest stages of development. About half of women breast-feed their babies. in addition to useful items for the baby. there is recourse to the wide variety of formulas for infants in every stage of development. because in France they bring the risk of toxoplasmosis. At three months. There is also a good deal of generalized social pressure to stop at this point. and poaching. veal) and poisson blanc or maigre or white ﬁsh that is low in fat (sole. a more extreme approach is perceived as fanatical. who take their meals a bit later. it is thought that there is no use asking her to act à contrecoeur (against her wishes). The attitude toward feeding infants is practical. such as steaming. and health. and tiny quantities of meat or ﬁsh: ﬁrst viande blanche or white meats (chicken. hake). then cereals such as semolina and rice.
BABIES AND CHILDREN
Initiating children into the rites of the table is essential to their education. naturally. then beef. These are strictly déconseillés (recommended against). continuing to sip a café au lait in the morning. In this case. At about three to four months. there is little stigma attached to choosing against breastfeeding. It is widely felt that to extend breastfeeding any longer is unseemly. Babies and very young children often eat separately from the parents. the baby has received the essential nutrients and antibodies from the mother. To continue to breast-feed an infant after three months may also be impractical if the mother must return to work after the 10-week paid maternity leave. relying on the simplest cooking methods that avoid the use of fats. Family and friends visiting the new mother and child after they have left the maternité (maternity ward or room) bring gifts for the mother.Diet and Health
their diet entirely.
Food Culture in France
ham. At about nine months or so, children are offered bread, then eggs. At about one year, fattier ﬁsh such as sardines, tuna, and salmon may be incorporated into the diet, along with raw vegetable such as peeled grated carrots and cooked dried legumes such as lentils and haricots. By about a year to 15 months, when the baby can drink cow’s milk, it is thought that the child can eat a full variety of solid foods. The strong dietary prohibitions for babies are against added salt and sugar, foods that are too fatty or strong in ﬂavor, and foods that present extra risks of bacteria or allergens: no pork, horsemeat, game, shellﬁsh, fried foods, peanuts, or spices, and no sweets. To young children (ages three to six years) parents give simple foods seen as easy to digest and appealing to the still-developing palette. The classic child’s meal begins with a potage (soup) made of vegetables boiled in lightly salted water or plain broth, then passed through a moulinette (food mill) or puréed with the hand-held mixeur-plongeant. Potatoes, broccoli, turnips, leeks, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, and artichokes are common soup ingredients. A bit of pasta may be cooked in the soup and a spoon of grated Gruyère added for garnish. Jambon-coquillettes is a favorite children’s meal: boiled pasta such as small shells or elbow macaroni with a bit of butter and mild grated cheese and a slice of jambon blanc (fresh ham, more meaty and less salty than the aged hams). Meat, especially red meat, and beef in particular, is considered important, as it is thought to donner des forces (build strength). It is recommended that children eat meat once each day, and parents enjoin their child to Mange ta viande! (“Eat your meat!”). Small children eat meat that is thoroughly cooked; older children are taught to appreciate beef that is saignant (“bloody,” i.e., rare), as adults do. Butchers grind to order children’s portions of steak haché (ground or chopped beef), which is then loosely patted into a ﬂat oval shape to be pan fried. Escalopes de poulet (chicken cutlets) sautéed in butter or oil are popular. Vegetable purées, enriched with a little milk and a tiny quantity of butter, are essential preparations, along with bread to accompany everything. Food for children is ideally to be nutritious, tasty, and well textured. Soft foods, too many sweets, and too much sugar are avoided. Sodas are viewed as empty calories and are frowned upon. The same is true of fruit juices, seen as overly sugary, and a poor substitute for fresh fruit. In the morning, children are given hot milk or hot chocolate. Later in the day they may drink tisanes (herbal infusions) but no coffee or tea. Older children are expected to sit at table with adults, to eat the same foods that adults are eating, and to be polite and sociable. There is great concern among parents and at the level of the state to inculcate good eating habits in children. Parents want to raise healthy
Diet and Health
children who enjoy a good quality of life and who are equipped to be socially integrated. The state is concerned with public health, as it regulates the health care system and has the economic vitality of the country in mind. In secondary schools, the annual fall Semaine du goût and other initiatives teach children about the country’s culinary heritage and simultaneously present alternatives to la mal bouffe (“bad grub”). Beginning in the 1970s, the term mal bouffe or malbouffe was used to mean fast food and junk food. Now it can refer to any food considered unhealthy, an unbalanced diet, an unreﬂecting mode of eating. As part of the effort to protect the health of children by encouraging good eating habits, the state has forbidden the sale of soft drinks and candies in secondary schools and mandated that lessons on nutrition and health be incorporated into the national curriculum. Similarly, the state regulates television advertising, seen as exerting a nefarious inﬂuence on children’s health and eating and consumer habits. At present, for instance, commercials cannot occupy more than 12 minutes to the hour on television, and televised publicity for tobacco and for beverages containing more than 1.2 percent alcohol is forbidden.5
FOOD FOR THE SICK
When care of the seriously ill still was given at home and predominantly by family members, household manuals and most cookbooks included a section with recipes for the treatment of the invalide (invalid or sick person). Today, “pectoral” broths and home remedies such as chest plasters have disappeared, in favor of the modern commercial pharmaceuticals that professional doctors prescribe. There remains little concept of speciﬁc foods appropriate for the ill; rather, adjustments are made to the diet overall. As in the United States, serious conditions are addressed with radical changes, such as a lowprotein diet in the case of kidney problems. In a nation of wine-drinkers, the crise de foie (“liver crisis”) was a classic complaint, extensible to nearly any malaise. Today, of course, avoiding alcohol is recommended against the more speciﬁc problems of cirrhosis or enzyme imbalance. There is, similarly, little conception of a special diet for the troisième and quatrième âges (third and fourth ages, i.e., retirement and old age: people ages 60 and older and 75 and older, respectively) outside of reducing portions to suit lower activity levels and a slower metabolism. For the minor, day-to-day complaints, smaller adjustments are made. In case of boufﬁssures or gonﬂements (swelling resulting from water retention), an effort is made to reduce the intake of wine, coffee, and
Food Culture in France
salty and rich foods such as cheese. For temporary illness affecting the appetite, light and easily digested foods are recommended. Against gastric ills, plain boiled rice and cooked carrots form the menu, and doctors recommend that one avoid green vegetables and salads, until the illness has passed. Purée de pommes (apple sauce) may also be given, as well as broths or light soups. Mineral waters high in magnesium, salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, even a drink of pastis may be taken to improve digestion, and plain yogurt eaten to soothe the stomach and encourage beneﬁcial intestinal ﬂora. Tisanes or herbal infusions are enjoyed as after-dinner hot drinks or before bed, but they are also thought to have speciﬁc useful properties: rose hips against colds, chamomile to soothe the stomach, linden as a calming tea before bed. An after-dinner drink such as a Cognac or other fruit brandy is referred to as a digestif (digestive). The small shot of strong alcohol is thought to settle the stomach after a rich or large meal and to promote digestion. Knowledge of the medicinal properties of foods and notions of regulating health through diet are traceable to antiquity. The holistic approach to balancing the diet has its most ancient roots in the Greek theory of the four bodily humors, which had to be balanced through the best choice of foods for an individual’s constitution. Today, the view that connects health and diet through a notion of harmony and balance is completed by the conviction that adequate rest and relaxation, including proper vacations from work, are important for health. As a complement to the maintenance of health through a balanced, harmonious diet, there is also a cachet (gel capsule), comprimé (tablet), or pillule (pill) designed, it seems, for every health problem, no matter how small. That France is a highly medicalized country is due in part to the provisions of the outstanding national medical care. Coverage allows patients to choose their physicians, and it gives physicians great freedom to prescribe medications and tests. Consumer awareness and the ongoing development of new pharmaceuticals, including those to treat complaints such as cardiovascular disease and hypertension that are relatively common in the aging population, further contribute to this trend.6
PROBLEMS OF ABUNDANCE
As in most afﬂuent countries where people have an embarras du choix (a wealth of choice—or too many choices), problems related to eating too much are on the rise. Conditions associated with an overabundant diet combined with a sedentary lifestyle, notably obesity, are becoming
Diet and Health
more prevalent. In 2006, INSERM, the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale or National Institute for Health and Medical Research, estimated that 1 of every 10 children is obese by the age of 10, twice the ﬁgure measured in 1980.7 Categorizations of weight as “normal,” “excessive,” and so on derive from the IMC or indice de masse corporelle (BMI or body mass index) established by the World Health Organization’s International Obesity Task Force. The IMC is a ratio calculated to evaluate a person’s weight status. It is deﬁned as weight in kilograms, divided by the square of the height measured in meters. According to this ratio, overweight is deﬁned as having an IMC of greater than 25; an IMC greater than 30 indicates obesity. In France as in the United States, putting on excess weight often results from the addition of snacks to the schedule of regular meals8; from eating for reasons such as boredom or stress, rather than hunger; from eating large quantities of sugar in sweets, processed foods, and sodas; and from a lack of adequate physical activity. Physicians and researchers observe higher incidences of gastric and intestinal disorders, diabetes, sleep apnea, and other conditions associated with excess weight. Overconsumption may bring or manifest psychological stresses, as well, especially as contemporary ideals of beauty for both men and women require a slender ligne (ﬁgure). Pathological behaviors related to eating and having psychological causes, such as anorexia and bulimia, slowly increase, along with the sale of weight loss products ﬁrst developed in the United States and now inﬁltrating the French market. The progress of afﬂictions related to overconsumption, although alarming, is slower in France than in many other nations. This is due to the strong traditions of the family meal, to the sense of ceremony that accompanies eating, and to the fact that many families continue to cook regular meals at home and to take regular meals when dining out. In the last decade, the state has adopted an interventionist mode, encouraging, and even requiring, preventive measures as part of regular health care. A carnet de santé (health notebook) is established for each child at birth. The notebook is used to monitor preventable conditions throughout childhood. Doctors note such information as the dates of required vaccinations, any instance of dental decay, and domestic accidents. Since 1995, the notebooks contain a courbe de corpulence (corpulence curve) to track the child’s weight relative to a normal estimate for development based on the body mass index. A departure from the normal range on the curve sounds the alert. For cases of weight gain, doctors advise a modest reduction in portion size to be observed over the long term, avoidance of sweets and eating between meals, and
the cheeses that they carefully craft from raw (unpasteurized) milk. humans began to tinker with the natural selection of characteristics in plants and animals through hunting and gathering. artisanal methods. At present worldwide. a feature of organic farming. The French are notorious defenders of the salubriousness and unbeatable savor of. the most common transgenic foodstuffs and crops are soybeans. traceable to a speciﬁc place and an individual producer. where most processed foods for sale contain ingredients from a genetically modiﬁed
. thus pure.
The safety of the food supply and the reliability of the federal and European governments in its regulation are contemporary preoccupations. The biggest bugbears are OGM or organismes génétiquement modiﬁés (GMOs or genetically modiﬁed organisms) and other corporate industrial agricultural practices such as the use of antibiotics and growth hormones in meat. Terroir and the AOC label. That is. the term OGM refers to transgenic alterations. an OGM is a plant or animal that has received genetic material from a different kind of plant or animal. and regional particularity. The expanding market for domestic and imported produits biologiques (organic items) indexes the concern to eat the natural foods that are believed to be the healthiest. People want the foods that they purchase and eat to be natural and unadulterated for the purpose of commerce or convenience. Long before the development of sophisticated techniques for breeding and hybridization. for instance. The notion of purity at work here should not be confused with the equally important matter of hygiene or cleanliness. and cotton that contain genes from bacteria providing resistance to herbicides (allowing for or requiring the use of pesticides) or insects (providing resistance to pests). Most genetically modiﬁed crops are grown (since 1994) in the United States. herding and agriculture. Where these and later practices result in modiﬁcations within single species. Ideally. they want to know the origins of what they eat. respond well to these ideals. with their references to quality. Human interference with the genetic makeup of foods is traceable to prehistoric times. however. as well as affordable. That people pay more for organic items suggests the additional ethical interest in supporting ecologically sustainable and nonpolluting methods of agriculture. corn. Although most edibles are purchased at grocery stores.164
Food Culture in France
the encouragement of physical activity such as walking and playing outdoors. procuring fresh food directly from a farmer remains an ideal.
protest. As tens of thousands of cows were put to death.10 Veterinary inspectors make regular visits to slaughterhouses. Since the late 1970s. This transpired shortly after the ﬁrst known death (in 1995) in the United Kingdom from CreutzfeldtJacob disease. In France and the European Union. cargo loads of American transgenic soy arrived in France. and environmentally harmful— combines with abiding suspicion of the state’s commitment to protect people. transgenic foods are rare in Europe. such as sheltering young calves from the light.9 The pervasive mistrust of transgenic foods and industrial farming practices—viewed as unnatural. the European Union included a clause in the Treaty of Amsterdam that requires member states to protect the welfare of animals as sentient beings. and other changes have been enacted. France grows only a few hundred hectares of genetically modiﬁed crops. and debate. cows on industrial farms were being fed the remains of other slaughtered cows. and the European Union is currently ﬁnancing studies to understand the harmful effects of hormones and also antibiotics in meat. The Label Rouge (red label) and Certiﬁcat de Conformité (quality standards certiﬁcate) indicate high grades of meat. which in fact largely follow the French system of controls that
. the spread of the disease was traced to the cannibalistic practice in industrial agriculture of recycling animal waste as feed. Some of the feed was contaminated. For instance. AB stands for Agriculture biologique or organically raised meat. In 1999. animals raised for milk and meat have been carefully tracked. as well as a standard of quality. The strong reaction in France and Europe to these incidents and practices helps to explain regulations currently in force. rather than pink. the French system was modiﬁed to conform to European regulations. administering growth hormones to animals destined to be sold for meat is illegal.11 Laws enacted in the 1990s multiplied the quality-control labels for meat. unhealthy. By contrast. such as in the form of bone meal. As in the case of wine. European Union regulations now prohibit oldfashioned methods for raising le veau sous la mère (milk-fed veal). ﬂesh. In 1998. In 1997. That is. should other crops accidentally be contaminated by a stray seed or by pollen. regional product. Recent statutes regarding animals and meat give a sense of the strong interest in maintaining a safe. and as more people died including in France.Diet and Health
crop. Two incidents that occurred in the mid-1990s provoked extraordinary social mobilization. and the farmers who grow them are responsible for indemnities. natural food supply in a manner that is also ethical and ecologically sustainable. In 1996. the European market closed to imported beef raised on growth hormones. designed to produce truly white. the AOC label indicates a typical. the human variant of BSE or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
however. Against the rulings of other authorities such as the European Commission. maintain a remarkably vigilant attitude. 2006). 2. the place of origin of the animal. with the burden of proof for safety resting on producers. People remain aware of the sway that corporate and trading interests exert on the government. cooking and eating that deﬁne living well à la française. Since 2000. According to the precautionary principle.12 The current stance regarding OGM is slightly ambiguous.” Le Monde (March 9. and keen to protect the rich traditions of agriculture and artisanal production. the date by which it is best consumed. Europe began again to approve transgenic crops for importing. Alexandre Lazareff. The blanket bans on genetically modiﬁed foods have been superseded. L.” Archives des Maladies du Coeur et des Vaisseaux 80 (April 1987): 17–21. the European Court of Justice continues to back countries that wish to ban genetically modiﬁed crops if they can demonstrate a health risk. by the labeling rules that make their presence transparent and that make transgenic products traceable. which is responsible for regulation. like Europe. Despite the legal ambiguity. Serge
. few people are willing to buy transgenic foods.166
Food Culture in France
was already in place. 3. Richard. Sandrine Blanchard. follows the principe de précaution (precautionary principle) regarding transgenic modiﬁcation. implemented a ban on the sale of any new bioengineered crops. as testing of old applications continued. Many people. 136. In 1998.5 percent of nonauthorized OGM for the European market) be indicated on labels for food and animal feed. meat sold prepackaged in supermarkets carries an identifying ticket indicating the cut of meat. J. “Les Français consomment moins d’alcool et de tabac. seven member states.9 percent of authorized and 0. then. including France. European rules began to require that the presence even of a small quantity of transgenic organism (0. effectively putting an end to the old moratorium. transgenic crops and foods must be proven safe before they are made available to farmers and consumers.13 In 2004. The year 2001 saw the creation of the AFSSA or Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments (French Agency for Food Sanitation and Security) to protect consumer interests. and identifying information for the slaughterhouse where it was killed and processed. “Les facteurs de risque coronarien: Le paradoxe français. L’exception culinaire française (Paris: Albin Michel. In October 2003.
1. France. and unlike the United States. including specialized consumer interest groups. 1998).
and Health Ineqality (Westport. Le Régime Santé (Paris: Éditions Odile Jacob. Sophie Chauveau. alcohol. no. 179 in Chatriot. and Hilton. 2006). Paul Rozin.Diet and Health
Renaud and M. eds.” p. 9.” p. Francesca Bray. Chessel. 12.” The Lancet 339 (1992): 1523–26. 5. and Matthew Hilton. 182–98 in Alain Chatriot. Hervé Morin.” Journal of Internal Medicine 225 (Supplement 1.. and the French paradox for coronary heart disease. 2003). 2002) and Manger aujourd’hui (Toulouse: Privat.” Psychological Science 14. and Public Space: The Impact of BSE and Foot-and-Mouth Disease on Public Thinking. “Malades ou consommateurs? La consommation de médicaments en France dans le second XXe siècle. 2002). and Hilton. 1989): 39–46 and “Wine. CT: Praeger. Kimberly Kabnick. Jo Murphy-Lawless. 8. de Lorgeril. Erin Pete. 5 (September 2003): 450–54. 12 and 55–67. “Obésité des jeunes” (May 2006). 4.” p. Culture. Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel. Enfants. 208 in Chatriot. “The Ecology of Eating: Smaller Portion Sizes in France Than in the United States Help Explain the French Paradox. and Serge Renaud. consommation et publicité télévisée. Claude Fischler. 11. “Qui défend le consommateur? Associations. Notes et études documentaires 5166 (Paris: La Documentation Française. Céline Granjou. 10. “Traçabilité. Chessel. Risk. étiquetage et émergence du ‘citoyenconsommateur’: l’exemple des OGM. 196.” in Harthorn and Oaks. 13. “Dietary lipids and their relation to ischaemic heart disease: From epidemiology to prevention. platelets. 225 in Barbara Herr Harthorn and Laury Oaks. “Genetically Modiﬁed Foods: Shared Risk and Global Action. “Risk. institutions et politiques publiques en France (1972–2003).inserm. eds. Ethics. Sociologies de l’alimentation (Paris: PUF.” pp. 1995). Jean-Pierre Poulain. and Christy Shields. Monique Dagnaud. Alain Chatriot. 7. 2004).
.” Le Monde (March 21. 6. “Monsanto élabore les OGM de demain.fr/. Au nom du consommateur (Paris: Découverte.. http://www. 2003).
mid-day meal. slim crusty loaf of bread. especially pork. Boulangerie Bread bakery and shop.Glossary
. strong coffee. ﬂaky. Digestif Drink served after a meal. Apéritif A drink taken before lunch or dinner and served with ﬁnger food such as nuts. served as a composed salad for the ﬁrst course of a meal. Charcuterie Cured meat products. Café A small. chips. Biscuits Cookies. Déjeuner Lunch. crescent-shaped breakfast pastry. such as hams and sausages. Café au lait Coffee with hot milk drunk at breakfast. or appetizers. Bouquet garni A bundle of fresh herbs dropped into broths and soups to lend ﬂavor during cooking. Collation Mid-morning snack for children. Also a café or coffee shop. Crudités Raw vegetables. Cantine Canteen or cafeteria. Croissant Buttery. Baguette Long.
also the pastry bakery and shop. Réveillon Late festive meal served on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve. after the entrée. A great delicacy. Tourte Tart covered with a top crust and usually having a savory ﬁlling. Dragée Sugar-coated almond or Jordan almond. Pain au chocolat Croissant ﬁlled with chocolate. Pâtisserie Pastry. or infusion. Entrée The ﬁrst course of a meal. Potage Soup. Tartine Bread spread with something. such as spaghetti or elbow macaroni. also the cheese course of a meal. Poisson Fish. Fromage Cheese.170
Dîner Dinner. Stockﬁsch Salted dried codﬁsh. Tarte Tart. Pâte Pastry dough or bread dough. Vinaigrette Oil and vinegar dressing. Tisane Herbal tea. Merguez Spicy beef or lamb sausage. Foie gras Fattened liver of a canard (duck) or oie (goose). Lard Fresh bacon used in cooking. such as butter or jam. Petit-déjeuner Breakfast. the plat is the second course. such as a cooked salad. Pâtes Pasta. Viande Meat. Goûter Afternoon snack for children. Plat Main course of a meal. like a pie with a bottom crust only. evening meal. usually meat.
. Frites French fried potatoes.
fr/ Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) National Institute of Health and Medical Research http://www.com/ Commission Européenne European Commission http://ec. AND OFFICES
Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie (CREDOC) Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions http://www.chefsimon.fr/ Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) National Institute of Denominations of Origin http://www.Resource Guide
WEB SITES.eu/ Institut Européen d’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation (IEHCA) European Institute of Food History and Cultures http://www.asso.inserm.gouv.inra.ieha.fr/ Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) National Institute of Agronomic Research http://www. ORGANIZATIONS.inao.credoc.fr/ Chef Simon http://www.europa.fr/
Le Boucher (1970) by Claude Chabrol.gouv. Philippine (1963) by Jacques Rozier. saveurs et traditions
. Carnages (2002) by Delphine Gleize.education.172
Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE) National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies http://www.fr/ Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale Ministry of National Education http://www.fr/ Recipes http://marmiton.gouv.agriculture.fr/ Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing http://www.gouv.gouv. La Bûche (1999) by Danièle Thompson. Alimentation générale (2005) by Chantal Briet. L’Aile ou la cuisse (1976) by Claude Zidi.insee. Au Bon Beurre (1952) by Jean Dutourd.fr/ Ministère de la Santé et de la Protection Sociale Ministry of Health and Social Protection http://www.fr/ Ministère de la Culture Ministry of Culture http://www.org/
Chefs et saveurs L’Hôtellerie Néorestauration Omnivore Papilles 60 Millions de consommateurs Vins. Une affaire de goût (2000) by Bernard Rapp.culture.sante.
37°2 le matin (1986) by Jean-Jacques Beineix. Monsieur Ibrahim et les ﬂeurs du Coran (2002) by François Dupeyron.
. Masculin / Féminin (1966) by Jean-Luc Godard. La Grande bouffe (1973) by Marco Ferreri. Nénette et Boni (1996) by Claire Denis. Cuisine et dépendances (1993) by Philippe Muyl.Resource Guide
Chacun cherche son chat (1996) by Cedric Klapisch. Mille et une recettes d’un cuisinier amoureux (1996) by Nana Dzhordzadze. La Femme du boulanger (1938) by Marcel Pagnol. La Cuisine au beurre (1963) by Gilles Grangier. Delicatessen (1991) by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Vatel (1990) by Roland Joffé. Mondovino (2004) by Jonathan Nossiter. Décalage horaire (2002) by Danièle Thompson. Au Petit Marguery (1995) by Laurent Bénégui. Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie (1972) by Luis Buñuel. Le Chagrin et la pitié (1972) by Marcel Ophüls. Le Week-end (1967) by Jean-Luc Godard. Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000) by Agnès Varda. Le Festin de Babette [Babettes Gaestebud] (1987) by Gabriel Axel. Les Stances à Sophie (1970) by Moshé Mizrahi. Manon des sources (1953) by Marcel Pagnol and version of (1986) by Claude Berri. Les Quatre cents coups (1959) by François Truffaut. Mon oncle (1958) by Jacques Tati. Métisse (1993) by Mathieu Kassovitz. Jean de Florette (1986) by Claude Berri. Chocolat (1988) by Claire Denis. Le joli mai (1962) by Chris Marker. Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) by Jacques Becker. La Traversée de Paris (1956) by Claude Autant-Lara.
Simple French Cooking: Recipes from Our Mothers’ Kitchens (2000). Child. 2. Vol. Cambridge. London: Cassell. The Oxford Companion to Wine. Kiple and Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas. Georges and Coco Jobard. Seyssinet: Libris. Colman. The Oxford Companion to Food. 2006.
. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1970). New York: Alfred A. 2001. Julia with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. New York: Alfred A. 1980. Knopf. Boudou.
Andrews. Les bonnes recettes des bouchons lyonnais. 2nd edition. 2 vols. 2001. Culinary Biographies. Bocuse. Knopf. ——— with Simone Beck. Paul.Selected Bibliography
The Cambridge World History of Food. 2000. UK: Oxford University Press. Larousse gastronomique. Editors Kenneth F. 1999. Oxford. La Cuisine du marché (1976). Oxford. 1999. 1998. 2003. Evelyne and Jean-Marc Boudou. Blanc. et al. Saveur Cooks Authentic French. Editor Alan Davidson. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961). UK: Oxford University Press. New York: Clarkson Potter. Paris: Flammarion. 1. Houston: YesPress. 1998. Editors Joël Robuchon and the Gastronomic Committee. Editor Alice Arndt. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. UK: Cambridge University Press. Vol. 1999. Editor Jancis Robinson.
Paris: Marabout. Preface by Bernard Loiseau. Olney. 1995. Julia. T. Revised edition. Fletcher. Michel. L.A. Inc. Duplessy. no. secrets.. Gaborieau. “Legitimacy and Nationalism in the Almanach des Gourmands (1803– 1812). Blandine and Henri Bouchet. La cuisine de référence. 1986. Preface by Tahar ben Jelloun. Provence: The Beautiful Cookbook (1993). Cuisine lyonnaise d’hier et d’aujourd’hui. Les meilleures recettes de Provence et de Côte d’Azur. San Francisco: California Culinary Academy. Le Répertoire de la cuisine (1914). Strasbourg: La Nuée Bleue. Saulnier. La grande cuisine minceur. Culinaria France (1998). Cuisine traditionnelle en pays niçois. New York: Vendome Press. 1981. 1976. Premiers repas de bébé. New York: Wiley.P. La vraie cuisine légère.. New York: John Wiley. San Francisco: HarperCollins. 1999. Aix-en-Provence: Édisud. Henri-Paul. French Home Cooking. The Cooking of Southwest France: Recipes from France’s Magniﬁcent Rustic Cuisine (1983). Gilles. Paris: Flammarion.” EMF: Studies in Early Modern France 7 (2001): 141–62.E. Auguste. Richard. Stéphane.
. G. Wolfert. Guérard.176
Le Cordon Bleu at Home (1991). Kaufmann. Paris: BPI. Raphaël. J. 1999. “Grimod’s Debt to Mercier and the Emergence of Gastronomic Writing Reconsidered. Pudlowski. Freddy. André. 2005. 1990. Paris: Flammarion. Colmar: S. 2001. Richard with Jacques Gantié.
Abramson. Vié. Paris: Robert Laffont. 1976. 2 (2003): 101–35. Paula. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. and L. 1992. Gringoire. Trésors de la table juive. New York: William Morrow. Guillot. Monique. La cuisine juive en Alsace. ———. Les saveurs et les gestes: Cuisines et traditions du Maroc. Translators H. Paris: Stock. 2005. Simple French Food (1974). 2003. Editor André Dominé. Cologne: Könemann. Janet and Hallie Donnelly Harron. Escofﬁer. Fatéma. Rennes: OuestFrance. Aix-en-Provence: Édisud. Cracknell and R. Paris: Flammarion.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 3. Je sais cuisiner (1932). Olney. recettes. La grande cuisine bourgeoise: Souvenirs. 2003. 2005. ———. Paris: Flammarion. Hal. Maincent-Morel. The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery (1903). Paris: Albin Michel. Mathiot. 2005. The Great Book of French Cuisine (1966). Yana. 1996. 2001. Pellaprat. Great Women Chefs of Europe. Martine. 2002. 1986. Michel. Granoux-Lansard. 2005. Bernard. 1989.
Dalby. Editor Christopher Scarre. 2002. Diamond. Caroline Walker. Paris: Errance. Elias. Paris: Centre National de la Rercheche Scientiﬁque. 53–64. Phyllis Pray. 1995. Paris: Gallimard. Gibson. 2004. Mellars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. pp. 2003. Charlemagne (2002). Clottes. 1979. 1999. 161–76. Nourrir le peuple: Entre État et marché. 2004. Oxford: Oxford University Press. London: Fontana Press. Bonnie. Durrenmath. The Gallic War. 1992. Clément. Art. Les produits du terroir: Entre cultures et règlements. Laurence and Philippe Marchenay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gaius Julius. Translator Allan Cameron. 1996. Martin’s Press. New York: St. Alessandro. Davidson. Oxford: Archaeopress. 1982. New York: Pantheon. Baumgartner. Dangerous Tastes: The Story of Spices. Coles. Bewley. Frederic J. Editors J. Westport: Praeger. R. and Steel (1997). 1999. and Purpose. 1999. 2000. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1987. 2002. Drinkwater and H. Courtesans and Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (1997). Detienne. Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Signiﬁcance of Food to Medieval Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
. France in the Sixteenth Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Effros. Alfred W. The Columbian Exchange (1972). 1999. Ancient France: Neolithic Societies and Their Landscapes 6000–2000 B. 2003.Bibliography
Albala. 1979. Alain. Guns. Elton. Marcel and Jean-Pierre Vernant. Ken. Fifth-Century Gaul: A Crisis of Identity? Editors J. Editors Robert Forster and Orest Ranum. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Barbero. Translator Edmund Jephcott. 1994. XVIe-XIXe siècle. Translator Carolyn Hammond. Gilles. Jean. and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. James. Andrew. Bérard. La Cuisine du sacriﬁce en pays grec. Norbert. Creating Community with Food and Drink in Merovingian Gaul. Paris: L’Harmattan.C. Richesses et société chez les Mérovingiens et Carolingiens. Pattern. New York: Norton.” In World Prehistory. and P. Georges. Editor A. Crosby. Berkeley: University of California Press. “Continuity and Change in the Late Neolithic in Southern France: A Technological Point of View. Food and Drink in History. Depeyrot. “Twenty Thousand Years of Paleolithic Cave Art in Southern France. Caesar. Jared. The History of Manners (1939). Germs. 1998. Berkeley: University of California Press.” In Prehistoric Pottery: People. Culture. 1984. Eating Right in the Renaissance. Bynum. Bober.
1997. Berkeley: University of California Press. 300–900. Paris: Christian. Patrice. 2004. Paris: Errance. Kaplan. Patrick J.
. Bruno. 3 vols. Editors Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari. Editor Pierre Nora. 1995. Food and Society in Classical Antiquity. Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce. Milcent. 1990. Les Ouvriers de Paris au XIXe siècle. pp. Paris: Arthème Fayard.D. Manger au Moyen Âge. Translator Mark Grant. Laurioux. Robert O. Oxford: Berg. Emily. Andrew. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Laroulandière. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Marc and Peter Scholliers. Le premier âge du Fer en France centrale. Translator Béatrice Vierne.” Speculum 72. Settlement and Social Organization: The Merovingian Region of Metz. Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order. 1996. La ﬁn des corporations. Eating Out in Europe: Picnics. 2001. New York: Oxford University Press. The Celts (2000). Paris: Arthème Fayard. New York: Cambridge University Press. Mintz.178
From Roman to Merovingian Gaul. 1700–1775. Sidney W. Before France and Germany. Michael. 2001. Galen. Anthony. Peter. Editor Alexander Callander Murray. McGowan. Halsall. 2001. “Nutrition and the Early-Medieval Diet. McCormick. 2001. 68–190. London: Routledge: 2000. New York: Penguin. Pearson. Histoire de l’alimentation. Gowers. 1996. 1999. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Paris: Gallimard. 1966. Oxford: Clarendon Press. King. New York: Viking. repas et sacriﬁces. no. Garnsey. In Galen on Food and Diet. Geary. Méniel. Nancy. Gourmet Dining and Snacks since the Late Eighteenth Century. 2003. Kathy L. 1940–1944 (1972). Roman Gaul and Germany. The Loaded Table: Representations of Food in Roman Literature. Steven L. On the Powers of Food. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mitford. Claudius. 1988. Les lieux de mémoire (1984–92). Maier. Bernhard. Fabrice. Toulouse: Université du Mirail. Toronto: Broadview. 2000. Pierre-Yves.1 (January 1997): 1–32. 1999. 1993. A. Jacobs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Durham: Duke University Press. Les Gaulois et les animaux: Élevage. Paris: Hachette. ———. 2 vols. eds. The Sun King. 1985. Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals. The Bakers of Paris and the Bread Question. 2003. Guy. 1997. Paxton. Translator Kevin Windle. New York: Columbia University Press. 2002.
1993. Flandrin. Berkeley: University of California Press. Vintages and Traditions. The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting. Eva. Translator Richard Miller.). 1991. Oxford: Oxbow Books. Sokolov. Barbara Ketcham. Alice. Lettres. 2005. 2005. Ravitaillement et alimentation en Provence aux XIVe et XVe siècles. Gilbert. New York: Routledge. Claude. Weber.-C. 1983. Shanzer. Jean-Louis. Aldershot: Ashgate. 1994. Savoring the Past. 379–406. Mme de. Roland. New York: Norton. Garrier. Mathisen and D. Paris: Seuil. Patrick. Eugen. In Oeuvres complètes. Spang. 1. 2001.500 av. vol. Marek. Seasoning Savvy. The Invention of the Restaurant.” In Les derniers chasseurs-cueilleurs d’Europe occidentale (13. 1996. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion. “Les derniers chasseurs-collecteurs d’Europe tempérée. Editors R.” L’Histoire 85 (1986):108–11. Paris: 1970. White. 1992. Paris: Louis Audibert. “Enclosures and related structures in Brittany and western France.” Neolithic Enclosures in Atlantic Northwest Europe. Rebecca. 2001.000–5. T. Christopher.Bibliography
Adams. New York: Haworth Press. Mythologies (1957). Society and Culture in Late Antique Gaul. 1999. 1999. Wheaton. Translator David Jacobson. Douglas. Besançon: Presses Universitaires de Franche-Comté. 2003. Robert C. editor. Pierre. Paris: Odile Jacob. Wolfgang. Crane. Tastes of Paradise (1980). editors Timothy Darvill and Julian Thomas. 2000. Ulin. Schivelbusch. Raymond A. Zvelebil. Europe’s First Farmers. Editor Bernard Raffalli. New York: Summit. Barthes. Camembert: A National Myth (1992). Cambridge: Harvard University Press. “The Political Economy of Agriculture in France’s Fifth Republic. 2000. L. Why We Eat What We Eat. 1998.” Explorations in Economic History 36 (1999): 1–29. Arndt. Paris: Larousse-Bordas. pp. The Hollow Years: France in the 1930s. W. 1999. pp. “Et le beurre conquit la France. 561–724. 24–42.
. Washington: Smithsonian Institution. William James. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fischler. 1976. De la cuisine à la gastronomie: Histoire de la table française. Histoire sociale et culturelle du vin (1995). Feuding and Peace-Making in Eleventh-Century France. pp. J. Sévigné. Stephen D. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. New York: Vintage. Stouff. 2000. Boisard. Rambourg. Burlington: Ashgate. Du vin.
Le livre du foie gras. dissertation. 1880–1920.D. Csergo. Masui. 1990. 2004.” Saveur 67 (June–July 2003): 79–91. New York: Columbia University Press. Paris: Albin Michel. “La nouvelle vague de la jeune cuisine. Kazuko and Tomoko Yamada. Ardagh. 2000. The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute cuisine. Drouard. University of California at Berkeley. John. Steven L. Edwards. Ferguson. Ferguson. New York: Oxford University Press. Michel. 92–111. 2003. no. Friedberg. “The Careers of Chefs: ‘French’ and ‘American’ Models of Cuisine.” In Eating Culture. 2002. 1983. Paris: Flammarion. Education and National Identity in Third Republic France. 1999. Paris: Herscher. Julia and Christophe Marion. Silvano. ——— and Françoise Sabban. Marie-Noël and Gilles Plum. eds. Nancy. François. “The Science of Domesticity: Women. de Gary. “Culture. La viande. Pasta (2000). Kyri Watson. Susanne. 2002. Claﬂin. Albany: State University Press of New York. 3 (November 1998): 597–641. 1998. 1880–1914. French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age. Kaplan. and Modernization in Paris Provisioning.D.
Andrews. 2004. Nourrisson. Histoire de l’alimentation: Quels enjeux pour la formation? Dijon: Educagri. Bertrand. Les Vaches de la République. Paris: Perrin. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 2002. Le retour du bon pain. 2004. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientiﬁque. Les cuisines de l’hôtel Camondo. 2006). pp. “Back to the Basics: Jean-Pierre and Isabelle Silva Give Up a Michelin Star in Burgundy to Lead a Simple Life. Politics.” Le Monde (April 17. Stéphane. editors Ron Scapp and Bryan Seitz. Alain. Didier. 1997. Technologie culinaire. Serventi. Histoire des cuisiniers en France XIXe-XXe siècle. Paris: Musée Nissim de Camondo and Union centrale des arts décoratifs. Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine. Translator Antony Shugaar. Colman. Rudloph. 2006. Priscilla Parkhurst and Sharon Zukin. Maincent. ———. Vissac. dissertation. Preface by Pierre Troisgros.” Ph. Paris: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. French Cheeses (1993).
. “A Cultural Field in the Making: Gastronomy in 19th-Century France. 1999. Chelminski. Paris: BPI. 1996. France in the 1980s (1982).” Saveur 76 (June–July 2004): 64–73.” American Journal of Sociology 104.180
Landrieu. Boston University. Davet. Priscilla Parkhurst. 2005. ———. 2004. “After Nouvelle cuisine. Le Buveur du XIXe siècle.” Ph. New York: Penguin. New York: Penguin. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Julia. Patrick. Translator T. Claude. de la Pradelle. 1993. William. “Consuming Wine in France: The ‘Wandering’ Drinker and the Vin-anomie. The Book of Kitchens (1999). Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession.” American Sociological Review 70 (December 2005): 968–91. Paris: Gallimard. Les conditions de vie des étudiants. Rémy. editor Thomas M. Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). 1999.americanheritage. eds. Neirinck.Bibliography
Hammack. 1997. Trubek. Convivial. Potted. George. familial: Histoires d’un mythe. New York: Harcourt Brace. Ross. and Françoise Sabban. Oxford: Berg. Wilson. MA: MIT Press. and Pierre Mayol. Market Day in Provence (1996). de Certeau. 2006. Lanore.
. 2005. Shephard. “Border Crossings: Bricolage and the Erosion of Categorical Boundaries in French Gastronomy. Fast Cars. Marion. Ory. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 2004. 1961. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des sciences de l’homme and Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. Pascal. J. 2000. Edmond and Jean-Pierre Poulain. and Rodolphe Durand. Claude Grignon. Pickled. Paris: Équateur. Rao.” In Drinking Cultures: Alcohol and Identity. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Cambridge. 2000.com/articles/magazine/ it/2005/4/2005_4_48. Sylvie-Anne. Kristin. Sue. Rambourg. Csergo. Amy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Paris: Autrement. 2006. 1995. Maurice. Orwell. ed. 2000. Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture.” Invention and Technology Magazine (Spring 2005) accessed at http://www.shtml. Tomasik. Rowley. 129–54. Grignon. Mériot. Translators Trevor Cox and Chanelle Paul. 2000. “Guerre des sexes au fourneau!” L’Histoire 273 (February 2003): 25–26. Boston: Brill. Anthony. Paris: Flammarion.
Aymard. Luce Giard. Demossier. Le Discours gastronomique français. The Practice of Everyday Life: Living and Cooking (1994). Translator Deke Dusinberre. 1998. Michèle. Pascal. L’Inspecteur se met à table. Pot-au-feu. and Canned: How the Art and Science of Food Processing Changed the World. Nostalgic Cooks: Another French Paradox (2002). Histoire de la cuisine et des cuisiniers. Paris: J. 1998. “There’s a Lot More to the Story of the Microwave Oven Than a Melted Candy Bar. Hayageeva. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. Translator Amy Jacobs. Michel. emploi du temps et rythmes sociaux. Le Temps de manger: Alimentation. Philippe Monin. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Les Auvergnats de Paris. 2003. eds. and Dominique Poulot. Paris: Sorbonne. Kolleen M. 2001. Grenoble: Presses Universitaires de Grenoble. Ascher. Sylvaine. Isabelle. Yasmine Mouhid. 2002.
Aron. Alain. Daniel J. Guy. Translators Trevor Cox and Chanelle Paul. Leiden and Boston: Brill. Culture and Society 7. Paris: L’Harmattan. and Charlotte Deprée. Nadine. 1998. Christy. 2003. 2004. and Dominique Desjeux. Jacobs. Nostalgic Cooks: Another French Paradox (2002). Paris: Découverte. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. eds. Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel. Chatriot. Pleij. Les usages politiques des fêtes aux XIXe-XXe siècles. Regards anthropologiques sur les bars de nuit. Paris: Rocher. eds. “Imagining the Self and the Other: Food and Identity in France and the United States. 2005. Mériot. Les métamorphoses de la fête en Provence de 1750 à 1820. Paris: Armand Colin. and Matthew Hilton. Cretin. Paris: Larousse. 1967. 2000. New York: Columbia University Press.182
Shields-Argelès. Rites et rituels contemporains. Marc and Peter Scholliers. eds. Marion Demossier. Oxford: Berg. New York: Random House. Paris to the Moon. Identities and Heritage in Contemporary France. Au nom du consommateur: Consommation et politique en Europe et aux États-Unis au XXe siècle. Herman. 2000. Alain. L’esprit des lieux: Le patrimoine et la cité. Eating Out in Europe: Picnics. Segalen. Translator Diane Webb. Noëlle Gérôme. Alimentations contemporaines. Jean-Paul. Gopnik.” Food. 2001. Devon: Prospect Books. Peter. Essai sur la sensibilité alimentaire à Paris au 19 e siècle. and Danielle Tartakowsky. 2 (Fall 2004): 13–28. 2006. 1999. Recollections of France: Memories. 1994. Paris: Nathan. Paris: Odile Jacob. When Champagne Became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity. Sylvie-Anne. Le mangeur hypermoderne. 2003. no. 1976. eds. and Jeanine Picard. Graham. Martine. Elise Palomares. Adam. Michel. Inventaire des fêtes de France d’hier et d’aujourd’hui. Totnes. Conord. François. Dreaming of Cockaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life (1997). 1997. Paris: Flammarion. Mourjou: The Life and Food of an Auvergne Village (1998). Blowen. Tardieu. Gourmet Dining and Snacks since the Late Eighteenth Century. Garabuau-Moussaoui. Oxford: Bergahn. Paris: L’Harmattan. eds. Vovelle. Elsa Gisquet. Sarah.
Corbin. 2004. Grange. Marc.
1997. Patrice. 1987. 2002. 1999. Paris: Albin Michel. Village in the Vaucluse (1957). Barbara Herr and Laury Oaks. Rennes: École nationale de la santé publique. Jacques and Alain Revel. Enfants. Lemarié. Paris: L’Harmattan.” In The History of Public Health and the Modern State. Paris: Découverte. Toulouse: Privat. “Improving Public Health in France: The Local Political Mobilization in the Nineteenth Century. Lambert. and Dominique Desjeux. Au nom du consommateur: Consommation et politique en Europe et aux États-Unis au XXe siècle. Grenoble: Collectif sur les Risques. La ﬁn des mangeurs. P. G. Pour une politique nutritionnelle de santé publique en France. London: Verso. Alain. Pernoud. Garabuau-Moussaoui.” Hygiea Internationalis 4. Council of Europe. no. Claude. Poulain. C. 1974. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer. 2000. Proceedings. Freeman. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. Paul. L’Homnivore. Matthew. 4 (2004): 229–53. Paris: Odile Jacob. and Matthew Hilton. 2002. 2003. 2002. Laurence and Agnès Grison. B. 2006. la Décision et l’Expertise-Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique. and Health Inequality. Blanchet. Marie-Emmanuelle Chessel. editor Dorothy Porter. 1990. eds. 2001. J. The Politics of Health in Europe. Amsterdam: Rodopi. Marris. 2000. J’élève mon enfant. “Public Health in France. and A. L’innovation controversée: Le débat public sur les OGM en France. Jean-Pierre. 1994. December 1–2. Isabelle.
Ariès. Joly. eds. Culture. Forum on Functional Food. Notes et études documentaires 5166.
. The World Is Not for Sale (2000). L’agriculture européenne face aux enjeux internationaux. Fischler. Dagnaud. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Jean-Louis. Strasbourg. Paris: Technique et Documentation-Lavoisier. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. 45–118. eds. Alexandre. Manchester: Manchester University Press. 1998. Monique. D. 2003. 2004. Alimentations contemporaines. Sociologies de l’alimentation: Les mangeurs et l’espace social alimentaire. 1999.. Chatriot. Ramsey. consommation et publicité télévisée. Bové. pp. ———. Elise Palomares. Westport. L’exception culinaire française. 1998. normes et pratiques. CT: Praeger. Lazareff. Risk. Richard.Bibliography
Wylie. Laurence. Paris: Économica. L’évolution des modèles de consommation alimentaire en France. José and François Dufour. 2000. Assouline. Paris: La Documentation Française. Bourdelais. Roy. Manger aujourd’hui: Attitudes. Kréziak. Harthorn. Paris: Pierre Horay.
La mal bouffe. “France Tries to Save Its Ailing National Health Insurance System. Paris: Seuil. “The Ecology of Eating: Smaller Portion Sizes in France Than in the United States Help Explain the French Paradox. Catherine.” Psychological Science 14. 2005. Sorum. and Christy Shields. May 2006. Paul.net/articles/histoire_ allaitement_CR_mai2006. Stanziani. Alessandro. Stella and Joël de Rosnay. Centre National de la Recherche Scientiﬁque. Paul Clay. Kimberly Kabnick. Rozin. Erin Pete. Histoire de la qualité alimentaire (XIXe-XXe siècle). “Histoire de l’allaitement en France: Pratiques et représentations. http://www. no. Paris: Orban. 1979.” Journal of Public Health Policy 26 (2005): 231–45.184
. Claude Fischler. 5 (September 2003): 450–54.” Laboratoire Printemps.pdf de Rosnay.
1. 73 Appert. 162–64 accras. 86 appliances. 88–90. 70–71 aqueduct. 5 Aquitaine. 73. 165 anise. 18–28 angelica. 156 ale. 148. 77. 6 All Saints’ Day. 75 Angevins. 165 aperitif. 126. 120. 121 apple. 32. 8 Antilles. 6. 62. 16. 47. 2. 132 aïoli. 77–78 abundance. 161 alcoholism. 13 animal welfare. stewed. 152 almond. 61 allec. 11. 52. 11 apiculture. 17–18. 164–66 aïgo-boulido. 77 Algeria. 10–13. 158–59. 8. 77–78. 43–44. 139 anchovies. 41. 9 agriculture. 23. 6. 141 anniversary. Council of. 38. 156. 66 ancien régime. See also dragée Alsace. recipe. recipe. 18. 53 adulteration. 163 Anthimus. 148–49 Apicius. 4 anchoïade. 4. 23 AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée). 72. 33–34. 61. 12. 160 apricot. 112–13. 3. 140 Aigues-Mortes. 12 arbutus. 17–18 amphora. 60. Nicolas. 71. 139 Americas. 6
. 48. 66. 139 À la recherche du temps perdu (Proust). 164–66 AFSSA (Agence française de sécurité sanitaire des aliments).Index
absinthe. 129 alcohol. 156. 150. 120. 166 Agde. 59 L’Aile ou la cuisse (Zidi). 35–37. 77. 3–7. 106–7. 7. 70–71. 155–56. 33. 147 anorexia nervosa. 11.
13. recipe. 113–14 Bleu d’Auvergne. 18. 20–22. 23 Benedict of Nursia. 6. sausage. 14. 2. 18 Bonnefons. 27 beaver. 70 banquet. 5. 6 Aucassin et Nicolette. 4. 3. 72 Biarritz. 114. 66 baguette. 46. 163 boar. 93. 27. 142. 143–44 Baudelaire. 92 Astérix. 16 Boileau. 118 bouquet garni. 8–11.). 10. 77 barrel. 2. 1 Ausonius. Nicolas. 8 authenticity. 62. 96. 52 Bastille Day. 51. 146–47 bar. 1. 53
. 35–36 Borel. 43 banana. 8.186 Arles. 11. 7. Jacques. 8–11. 4 Atlantic Ocean. 3. 65 baeckeoffe. 24. 85 berlingot. 27. 121 birthday. 57. 13. 126 Auvergne. 4. 16. 6. 60 beach food. 60 bourgeoisie. 7. 58 Attila the Hun. 11. 133 basil. Roland. 11. 119–20. 66 blanquette. 6. 13.R. 144 army (food). 165–66 beer. 7 Barthes. 83. 17 Bordeaux.S. 11. 144. 2. 135 bean. 2 beef. 66. 50. 13. 6. 128 blanc. 19 Art de la cuisine française au 19e siècle (Carême). 12 Beauvilliers. 152 Belgium. 30 artichoke. 4. 120 bagna cauda. 51–52 boulangerie. 143–44 Asia. 120 Avignon. 1. Étienne. 50 barley. 147–48 biscuit. 48 blueberry. 22. 124 Art de bien traiter (L. 49 brandade de morue. 157 Beaune. Antoine. 13. 62 bass. 43 bay leaf. 77. 3 Athenaeus. 6. See bread bakers. 32–33. 17. 95 Boileau. 6. 14 Bocuse. 135. Nicolas de. 5 Armistice Day. Decimus Agnus. 134. 60 Basque country. 67 Association des Maîtres cuisiniers de France. 47. 128–29 barbecue. 62. 19. 19. 3–4. Paul. 52 brains. 149–50
Index Battle of Fat and Lean. 159–60 bacon. 121–22. 149 barding. 57 blood: in civet de lapin. 143 aurochs. 70 BMI (body mass index). des Causses. 72 berry. 144 Ash Wednesday. 71 baby food. 10–11. 66. 149. 3. 132 bouillabaisse. 17. 2 bistro. 151 avocado. 64. 9 Benin. 17. 52. 139 asceticism. 30 bourride. 65 beignet. 138–41. 8. 144. 13. 2. 119–21 beet. Charles. 75 asparagus. 120. 47 boarding house. 70–71 bêtise de Cambrai.
17 La Chanson de Roland. 107. 4. 138–39. 149 charcutier. 13. 103–4. 84. 12–14 Charlemagne. 62. 3. 11. 49. 77. 162 cardoon. 54. 54. 57 Candlemas. 56 Cadet de Gassicourt. 144. 120 bread. 97 broiling. 140–41 charity. 56–57 caper. Julius. 92. 131. 121. 6. 147. 62–63 bulgar. 162 carving. 66. See also brasserie Britain. 69 Chantilly. 131. 147 Champlain. 16. 72 calvados. 57. 77 cardiovascular disease.Index brandy. crêpes. 141–42 breakfast. 16 chard. 76 cassoulet. seed. 62. 159 Brie de Meaux. 2. 13. 6 Burgundy. Jean Anthelme. cotton. 52 Carré de l’Est. Samuel de. 26. 24. 6. 120. 34. 64. 49. 5 chamomile. 3. 72–73. 6. 34 Caesar. 165 Cantal. 65. 18. Café Procope. 58. 57 Brillat-Savarin. 143 cabbage. 151–52 canned food. 108–11. 21 charcuterie. 96 cassis. 156. 49 calisson d’Aix. 106–7 bream. recipe. 73. Brasserie Lipp. 29 Brittany. 144. 28 BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy). 11. 13. 162 brasserie. Café de Flore. 6. 145 Carnival. 105. 149 calf’s head. 140 Carême. 60 carbonade. 24 cafeteria. 143
187 candy. 22. 10–12 carp. 121–22 Cannes. 52 breastfeeding. 11–12 Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii (Charlemagne). 1 celery. 41–43. 3. 146 caramel. 14 butcher. 6 Celts. 145 caraway. 3–4. 32–33. 3. 77. 127–28. 78 Camargue. 12–13. 22. 44. 1. 76. 26–27. 62 bulimia. 112 brewery. 47–48. 127–28. 151 cannibalism. 13. 73. 67 brochette. 3 cauliﬂower. 4. 11. 3 Capetians. 66. 4 café. 162 Champagne. root. 121–24 cake. 120. 25–26. 10–12
. 11 capon. 157. 29–30. 65. 26 cattle. 165 bûche de Noël. 65. 157 caterer. 57 carrot. 77 cena. 62 Camembert. 146 Catholicism. 8. 163 Burgundians. 65 Cabécou. Marie-Antoine. 51. 134. 4. 119. recipe. 7. 139 buckwheat. 25 butter. 67 cave painting. 23. 12 chanterelle. 143–44. 151–52 Carolingians. 77 broccoli. 14.
72. 105–6. 17 comﬁt. 91–92 coriander. 27 clam. 11. 107–8 Cognac. 159. 6. 11. 162 Cointreau. 64. 53 Clermont-Ferrand. 118. buckwheat. 6. 131 Columbian exchange. 60–61 chocolate. 121. 160 conviviality. 2. 5. 23. 62 coronary disease. 15. 28–29. 56–57 chicken. candied. 59. 119. 14–15. 7. 127. 73. 78 chausson. 71. 135. 22. 87 cookie. 69. 33. 146–47. brûlée. 72–73 conﬁt (de canard and d’oie). 66. 145 corn. 6. 138. 131. 18 cream. 56–58. 50 Civil Law Code. 97–99. sour. 9. 30. 56.188 Chartreuse. 68. 50–51 conversation. 58 chef. 62–63 Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease. 71. 13. 118 chicory. 160 chickpea. 13. 99–100 croissant. 30. 61–62. recipe. 5 cook. 42. 119 croquembouche. 4. fraîche. 103. 2. 68. 13. 71 cranberry. 144 Cortès. 48 chive. 65 crêpes. 75. 156–57 couscous. 22. 19–20. 15. 77 cinnamon. 161 citron. 6. 17 Cosquer. 75 chiffonnade. 130 cow. 24. puffs. 159 children’s meals. 112–13. 49. 145 compote. 78. recipe. 8–12 Christmas. 73 Chauvet. 60 chestnut. 49–54. 137–42 cider. 91–100 cherry. 2. 17–18. 111. 1 cheese. 6 chervil. 139 cirrhosis. 112–15. 32. 75. 65 childbirth. 53 courses (of a meal). 70. 9. 15. recipe. salted. 45–47. 162 cooking school. 2. 87–90. 157 chrism. 145–46 Christianity. 95 cocktail. 60–61. 143. 10 christening. 69. recipe. 139 Club des Cent. 85 chitterling. 72–73. 73. 65 crème: anglaise. 72 chèvre. 13. 88. 143. 106–8. 77–78. 63–69. 52–53. 19–20. 7. 78
Index colonies. 13. See also beef crab. 59. 16 critic (food). 134. 27. 16. 1 Côte d’Azur. 156–57 convivium. 147. 119. 159–61 China. 74. 156. 54. 66. 22–24. 131–32. 160 cholesterol. 165 Crieries de Paris (Guillaume de Villeneuve). 71 civet de lapin. 27–28. 89–91 cookbook. 129. 17–18 Columbus. 145 communion. 1. 2–3. 44. 12. 56. 61 clove. 30. 105. 157 Corsica. 107–10. Hernando. 158. 64. 13. 165. 144. 13. 145
. 138–39 coffee. 8. 19. 53. 59. 74. 148–49 cod. dried. 15. Christopher. 9. 3. 115 confectionary. 86 condiment. apple. 120. 129–30 cooking methods. 58–59. 112. 96–97. 6. break.
149 crusades. 109–11. 70 cuttleﬁsh. 71 Émile. See agriculture farm subsidy. 26. 54 dairy products. 69 Dom Perignon. 23 Eucharist. 15. 50–51. 77–78. des Arts et des Métiers (Diderot). See PAC (Politique agricole commune) fast food. 103–5. 82 disguise (in cooking). See also regions deer. 145–47 diabetes. 114 decentralization. 23 demi-deuil. 125–26. 5. 69–75. 77 cucumber. 138–42. 143–44. 96. 147 eggplant. 153 fava. ou Dictionnaire raisonné des Sciences. See banquet La Femme du boulanger (Pagnol). 95–97 Le Cuisinier (Pierre de Lune). 121–22 ethics. 51. 69 dessert. 137–39. Augustin. 112–15 discount store. 156. 3. 3. 10 daube. 13 digestif. 163 Diderot. red. 151–52 famine. 67–68. See hunger farming. 11–14 ﬁg. 32 fennel. 108–9 eel. 11 einkorn. 5 Encyclopédie. 52. 19 La Cuisinière bourgeoise (Menon). 69. 17. 3. Benjamin.Index croquette. 156–57 Father’s Day. 73 dinner. 26 Emmental. 10. 22 cumin. 11. 52 egg. 68 Einhard the Frank. 145–46 duck. 66 festival. 82. 139 dragée. 57 Escofﬁer. 6. 1 elderberry. recipe. 8–9 European Union. 1. 4 Delessert. 155–56 date. 13. 64 feast. 6. 22 education (taste). 12–13. 31. 143–44
189 L’École parfaite des ofﬁciers de bouche. 143–44 fat. 113. 70. 26. 57 emmer. 9. 46. 124–25 currant: black. 121–22. 23. 49–51 Easter. ou de l’Éducation (Rousseau). 150–52 feudalism. 142 Époisses. 24–27 Epiphany. 164–65 Ethiopia. 19 distilling. 1. 66. 2. 77–78 dog. 19 Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois (Massialot). Auguste. 11. Denis. 20. 85 cuisine gastronomique. 9–10. 25–26 endive. 55–58. See venison Deipnosophistae (Athenaeus). 25 Dieppe. 165–66 fair. 70–71
. 6. 56 Croze. 59. 66 cuisine du marché. 37–38. 125 crudité. 19. 22 Le Cuisinier françois (La Varenne). 61 Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland). 64 Crottin de Chavignol. 162 Dijon. 59. 5. goose and duck. 65. Ministry of Education. 6. 70. 131–32 fasting. 66 Enlightenment.
1 food ﬁght. 28–29. 64 garden (kitchen). 159 fouacier. 71 Grasse. 74 grape. 112 GMO (genetically modiﬁed organism). 82–83 fruit. 106. 142 Gallo-Romans. 125 Gauls. 140. 4. 5–8. 48–49 garlic. soup. 27–30. 78 ginger. 122 garbure. 19. See Battle of Fat and Lean le fooding. 131 fromage blanc. 17 Guérande peninsula. 138. 50–51. 49–51 gooseberry. 3. 145 grenadine. 8–9 goose. 5. 112 gâteau de riz. 3. 9. 112. 6. 5. 43 foie gras. 119. 120. 17. See Celts Gault. 111 frog. 138 Grand-Marnier. 5. Henry. 5. 20. 71 Goscinny. recipe. 59 gluttony. 159 ﬁshing. 8 galette des Rois.190 ﬁnes herbes. 21 formula (baby). 2–3. Michel. 3. 8. 3. 11 Gascony. 78 Germans. 58 gourd. 74 François I. 3 Goths. 69–71. 1. 68 ﬂour. Claude. 23 French fries. 6. 159 frozen food. 126 ﬁsh. 15. 3. recipe. 78. 140
Index garum. 160 funeral. 5–8 game. 5 gourmandise. 11. 13. 6–8 gin. 76 grilling. 141. 78 granité. 47. 16 fougace. 114. 6. 97 gentian. 99 Gruyère de Comté. 34. 18. 66. 164–66 Goa. 75 Fouquet. 13 Franks. 63. 2. 13 gastronomy. Nicolas. 2. 2. 13. 20–21 Framboisine. 134 Grimod de la Reynière. 56. candied. 97. 18 goat. 2. 156. See snack grain. 51–53. 6. 71. 135 French paradox. 58 Guérard. 16 Gaul. 13. 23 guava. 93
. 75 Greeks. 9. 130–31 fork. 159–60. 144 Le Gobeur d’oursins (Picasso). 6. 4. 19 Gargantua (Rabelais). 107. 25–26. 70 gamelle. 47. 138. Charles de. 62 gaufrier. 147. 157 Font-de-Gaume. 112 goûter. 126. 60 Fischler. 12. 12 French East India Company. 157 French toast. 51–52 ﬂammekeuche. Henri. 29. 25–26. 146. 56 Gaulle. 60–61. 24. 8. 6–8. 53 God and gods. 44 grapefruit. 11. 54. 112. 8 gougères. 6. 120 ﬂan. 10–12 French (language). 132 foreign cuisines. 147 Galen. 57 Guadeloupe. juice. 135. 133–34 Ford.
9–10. 13. 49 kiwi. 49. 137–45. 58–60. 4. 6. 74. 85 Italy. 66 harissa. 6. 163 Isère. 48. 6. François Pierre de. 97–99. 43. 61 John Dory. 129. 130. 5 holidays. 64. 53 Hippocrates. 113. 75 industrialization. 14 hot chocolate. 11. 52 Gutenberg. 54 lardon. 26 hunter-gatherer. 157–58. 65. 52 Jordan almond. 96 guild. 156–57. 71
. 105.Index guide (restaurant). 61–62. 46–47 horseradish. 4. 30–31. 47–48 Lascaux. 76. 49 hedgehog. 73 immigrant cuisines. See dragée Julie. 57–58. 11. 160 hare. 13 hops. 156–57. 52 ham. 19. 135. 28. 123. 19 lavender. 1. 26–27. 11–12 lamb. 5. 13. 162
ice cream. 85 Halloween. 23 herb. 1 hunting. 2. 77 horse. 58 île ﬂottante. 70 knight. 159 Honﬂeur. 158–59 hospitality. 162 harvest. 33 infusion. 139. 14–15 Guinea fowl. 149 hunger. 71 jelly. ou la Nouvelle Héloïse (Rousseau). 6. 152 hake. 6. 83–84 Guillaume de Tirel (Taillevent). 11 hypertension. 78 kebab. 3. 16. 118. 6. 65 hospital. 160. 145. 70. 18. 152–53 hollandaise. 75 house-warming. 12. 124–25 Le Guide culinaire (Escofﬁer). 115 hostel. public. 160–64 heart. 144 Languedoc. 2. 50. 60. 149–50. 8–9. 7. 120. 50 haricot. 14 INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique). 161 herring. 7. 73. 162 inn. 1. 4. 46. Johann. 146 gurnard. 72 health. 67. 75. 60. 1 La Varenne. 26 juniper berry. 130–31 import. See brochette kidney. 78 herbes de Provence. 157 lard. 46 hydromel. 11. 8. 93 INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale). 6. 12. See cuisine gastronomique hazelnut. 19. 17 Jews. 12–14. 67. 71 Jerusalem artichoke. 15 Les Halles. 1. 10 haute cuisine. 135 Île de Ré. national. 150–52. 85 India. 74 jam. 122. 73 Henri IV. 60 heritage: 109–10. 61 harmony. 49. 124–26. 71 Israel. 34. 66–67 honey.
103–5. marsh. 48. 9. 143–44 lentil. 156–57 Lille. 6. 150 Marseille. 76. 24 marjoram. 141 Menon. 71 Lent. 6. 22 Michelin guide. 9. 2. 10–11 Le Mesnagier de Paris. 5. 22 Massilia. 152 Malraux. 145 milk. 60
Index market. André.R. 93. star rating in. 143 Martini. 122. 66 mackerel. 16 lobster. 77–78 liver. 66. 111. 94–95 merguez. 161. 3. 23 marzipan. 70 Louis XIV. 12–16. 34. 9. 77 mayonnaise. 99–100. 73. 157 medicine. 113. 157–59. 6. 10. 66. 49. 162–63 Molière.. 100 Middle Ages. provisionary.192 layer cake. 161 mallow. 128 Mercier. 14
. 27. 61. 8. 30 lime. 20 moderation. 6. 11 millet. 73. Frédéric. 11. 22 menu. complaint. recipe. 76. 20. 6 L. 162 liqueur. 10 mint. 13. Louis-Sébastien. 121–22. 59 Meilleur Ouvrier de France. 78 Martinique. 3–5. 11 mise en place. 45–51. 146 Loire River. 125 malt. 95. 23. See also foie gras Livre des métiers (Étienne Boileau). 6. 71 linden. 139 Massialot. 18 Lot-et-Garonne. 26 les Mères. 20–23 Louis XVI. 4. 53. 77 monastery. 108–11. 76–78. 70–71. 82 leek. 65–66 liberalism. 9. 55–56. 23.S. 53 madeleine. 55. 1. 2. 25. 129. 2. Christian. 124–25. See Marseille Mauresque. 18. 60 Le Havre. 120 mace. 151 Merovingians. 23. 13 lemon. 31 lettuce. See corn malbouffe. 9. 13. 19 Lyon. 159–60. Pierre Carlet de. 27–28. 147 Lune. 156 Mediterranean Sea. 6. 97 miller. 134. 85. 155–57. 21–22 Monaco. 77 maize. 38 life expectancy. 132 meat. 135 miracle. 160 millasse. 162 Mediterranean diet. 18 Louis XVIII. 64 Le Play. Pierre de. 52 McDonald’s. 3. Édouard. 28 Mexico. 129–30 Maine. 59 mâche. 4. 18 Millau. 19 lunch. 27 lovage. 13. 23. 62 Leclerc. 10. 94–95. 165–66 media. 77 Marivaux. 92 melon. 57. 2. 129. 147 Lebanon. 13. 11. 51–54. 15 metric system. 52 Lorraine.
61 Normandy. 139 panaché. 120 onion. 10. 144 Mother’s Day. 49 mussel. 23. 85. 48–49 oil. 71. 10. 77 pan bagnat. 120. 6. 5. Hervé. 11. 160
. 57 Morbier. 5–7. 61. 11–12. 120 Paris-Brest. 62. 13 Napoléon I. 9. 146 Mons. 119 Ojibwa. 35. 118 pantner. 77 Normans. 13 obesity. 76 oubloyer. 72. 112 monk. 17–18. 17 Paris. 59. 50 Pas-de-Calais. 66. 6. 27–28. 74. 6. 3. 66. 6. 139. 144–45 New Zealand. 97–98 Numidia. 11–12 North Sea. 141 orgeat. 145 nutmeg. 57 morel. 73. 161 oats. 6. 53 Odoacer the Goth. 75. 52 oven. 156 pain au chocolat. 109–10. 143. 38. 57 Muscat. 6 Nantes. 74. olive.Index Monbazillac. 1. 121. 89 oxen. 67 New Year’s. 112 mushroom. 164–66 nectarine. 153 mousse au chocolat. 52 Munster. 26. 138 PAC (Politique agricole commune). 2. 6 oeufs à la neige. olive omelet. Gustav-Adolf. 14–15 noodle. 16 oursinade. 120 mustard. 59 myrtle. 69 Muslims. 18 parsley. 8 octopus. 156. 69 Morocco. 6. 121 Napoléon III. 115–16 Opéra. 74 Parmentier. 141 nouvelle cuisine. 73 offal. 8 Mossa. 4. 162–64 De observatione ciborum (Anthimus). 70 Netherlands. 59 nutrition. 70. 6 nun. 60. 3. 151 nobility. 6 partridge. 8. 1 olive. 54–55. 70 Niaux. 53 nougat. 54. 73 pain d’épices. 7. white. 52. 22–23. 14 papaya. 22 New Stone Age. 60. 16. 9
193 nut. 71–72. 61–62. 61. 141. 139. 143 Nîmes. 53. 19. 1. 78 monkﬁsh. 74 Orange. 100 Mosella (Ausonius). 139 orange ﬂower water. 18 Old Stone Age. 30 mullet. See also oil. 2. 3. 12 oyster. 5 orange. 139 pasta. 118. 1–2 New World food. 10. 53. 73 Mulhouse. 7. 9. 11. Auguste. 150 natural food. 1 Nice. 61. 121 nationalism.
17 potato. 29 Picardie. 70. 33 La Physiologie du goût (Brillat-Savarin). 6 pepper: bell. 46. 72. 13 plaice. 65. 64. 65. 60 pizza. 3. 69–74. 55 pastis. 18. Gregory III. 12. François. 2. 17. black. See heritage Le Paysan parvenu (Marivaux). 62 pomegranate. See Greeks phylloxera. 132 plague. 10. 161 pheasant. 49 Phocaeans. 69 Pernod. white. 47–48. 75 Périgord. 17–19. 52 pilgrim. 119.194 pasteurization. 52 pleasure. 107. 32 pennyroyal. 59 peppercorn. 24 pea. 12 pork. 49
. 90 printing. 63–64 pot-au-feu. 157. 68. 3. 66 peach. cured (see charcuterie) portion size. 37 Proust. 6. 47 population. 49. 77–78. 115 pike. 158–59 prehistory. 6. 112 plum. 77 perroquet. 25. 7. Leo III. 18. 162 pastry. 120 peasant. 11–13. Marcel. 132 Procope. 25–26. 139. 73 praline. 70 peanut. 28–29. 1–4 preserves. 56 poultry. 70–71 polenta. 166 pregnancy. 126. 65. 6 persillade. 1. 70. 67–68. 103. 152 quail. 1. 6. chili. 110. 1–2 poule-au-pot. puff. 49–51 pound cake. 114–15 pottery. 70. 135 prawn. 145 patrimony. 24 protectionism. 163 Portugal. 70 Pont-l’Évêque. 17. 135 pear. 47–48. 4. 59. 72 pharmaceutical. 118. 52. 78 Persia. 59 perfume. 3. 15. Pablo. 15. 55. long. 64 pumpkin. 15. 6. green. 74 pâtissier. 71 pressure cooker. 64. 145 Le pâtissier royal parisien (Carême). 53 picnic. 73–74. 13. 69. 139–42 prune. 142. 6 72
Index pistou. 6. 46. 145–47 pig. 17 petit-four. 139 Picasso. 12. 17 pine nut. 10. pigs’ feet. 61–62. 60 pistachio. 112. 13. Zaccharias. 57 pope: Eugenius IV. 9. 145 Le pâtissier pittoresque (Carême). 17–18. 70–71 pulse. 60 Peru. Urban II. 134–35 pièce montée. 15 processed food. Malagueta. 72 pissaladière. 5. 6. 129 Provence. 9. 2. 114 Pouligny-Saint-Pierre. 3. 6. 14 pineapple. 104–5. 51. 59. 53 precautionary principle.
57 savory. 56–57 rose hips. 65–66. 121 Robuchon. for madeleines. 138 salon. 138–41 Revolution (of 1789). for gougères. 91–96. for aïgo-boulido. 152 salsify. 74 sacriﬁce. 48. 87. 3. Joël. 164–66 saffron. 150–52 regulation. 68. 6. 14 sauerkraut. 35–37. 165–66 Renaissance. 7. 112 Savarin. 75 rôtisseur. 159. 60 rosewater. 58–59. 149 Rhine River. 22. 60 saint. 120 sausage. 119. François. 120. 124–26. 16 Rouen. 8 sardine. 22. 131–32. 132–33 rationing. Martin. Marcel. 13. 53
. 70 rice. for soupe à l’oignon. 144–45 Saint-Honoré. 52. 97 rowanberry. for blanquette de veau. 156–57. 71 salmon. 89 regions. Sylvester. 124 rouille. for galettes bretonnes. 8. 123 réveillon. 165–66. 65. 98–100. César. 124–28. 34–35. 48–49 radish. 1. 6. 62
sabayon. 26 Roussillon. Sadalberga. coupon. chains. 115–16 De re coquinaria (Apicius). 162 rosemary. 4–10. 38. 11 refrigerator. 11. 13–17. for cabillaud à la portugaise. 30–32. 156– 57. 52 Roman Empire. 20. 109. See also wild rice rillettes. for pompe à l’huile. 13. 8. 8 Roquefort. 10. 144. 140. 3. of life. 112. paste. 134 sautéing. 71. for compote de pommes. 104–5. 110–11. 27. 160 Salvian of Marseille. recipe. 74 Saint-Marcellin. 62. 93 rocket. 52 quince. Nicholas. 2. for ratatouille. 16 safety (food). 122. 6. 112 Ritz. 3. 125–26. 74 roux. 11 Romans. 53 saucier. 14–15. 59. 70 rabbit. 61. 65 scallop. 113– 14. 62. 11. Jean Jacques. 121. 166 quatre épices. 11. 8–9. 48. 59 Rabelais. 86. 16. 88. 145 Rome. 117. 119–21. 70–71 ratatouille. 129– 30. 71 rue. 9. 4.Index quality: of food. 60 Savoy cabbage. 50. 10. 70–71. 52 Rousseau. 6. 26–27. 66 rockﬁsh. 68 rationalization. 141–42. 52. 145 restaurant. 65 raisin. 58. 62–63. 6. 57 salad. 67. 10 rhubarb. 59 sage. 6 rye. 147. 59 quenelle. 19. 30 Rouff. 71 raspberry. 156 recipe. 6. 139. 65 salt.
60 tomate. 30. 124–25. See under cod stove. 88 Tomme de Savoie. 119 tabbouleh. 76. 6. 64 squab. 159. 118 socialism. 68. 60 tart. Gall. 88–89 Strasbourg. 25. 98. en salle. 156–57. 52 slave. 164 Suze. 54. à la française. 26 tagine. 18. 57 tongue. 53. 70–74. 65. 159 supper. 112 sea urchin. 129 terroir. 8 Third Republic. 141. 71. 30 tarragon. 3. 57. 111–12. 112. 115. 17–19. 118–19 suet. 78 tomato. 49 Theuderic. 28. 119. 139 spinach. 120 tartine. 22. 53–54 shopping. 140 sorrel. 75 spelt. 145 searing. 32. 161–63. 81–85. 132 tea. 6. 21–22 Taste Site.196 sculpture (sugar). Strasbourg Oath. 150–52 tourte aux blettes. 6 sorbet. 147. Olivier de. 1. 65
. 70–71 street food. 20. See Jerusalem artichoke supermarket. 17–18. 30. 34–35. 15. 66–67. 58–60. 46–47. 129. 120. 75. 10 stockﬁsch. 120 sorb apple. 70. 25. 81–85 shrimp. 52–53 semolina. beet. à la russe. 46 Taillevent. 6. 5. 23. 119. 62 spices. 160 sole. 61. recipes. 120 tartare. Frederick. 122–23 thyme. 107. 37. 15. 17. 104. 121. 6 shellﬁsh. 163 snail. recipes. 2. 4. 71 Shrove Tuesday. 6. 23 service: à l’assiette. 52. 14 Taylor. ou l’Imposteur (Molière). 7. 160. 130 St. 124 tourism. 141 split pea. See Guillaume de Tirel Talleyrand. 53 steak-frites. 160. 76. Tatin. 96 serviceberry. 70 syrup. 119 snack. 104. 112 Sévigné. 119 Tartuffe. 54 sugar. 49 squid. 159 Senderens. 71. 74 soup. 72–73. 32–34. 93 Serres. 22–23. 50 socca. Mme de. 65. 49 Syria. 111. 115 sustainability. 65 Spain. 10. 97. 62 Tableau de Paris (Mercier). 65–66. 21 shallot. 28. 60 sheep. 16. 139 snipe. 23 smoking. 147. 6. 72. shop. 2. 165 skate. 67. 115–16. 26 table d’hôte. 30 soda. 125–26 testicle. 11
Index strawberry. 107. 34–35. 120. 143–44 sickness. 3. 78 sweetbread. 6 Seven Deadly Sins. 95. 49 Tour de France gastronomique (Curnonsky and Rouff). Alain. 23–24 sunchoke. 23. 125 tavern.
86–87. 3 UHT sterilization. 132 Zola. 5. 4. 17–18. 33–37. 159 traceability. Michel. 156. See also Fischler. 125. 16. 21. 16 vinaigrette. 6 yogurt. 2. 65 watermelon. 125 tripe. 162 young cuisine. 69 tuna. 75 VAT (value added tax). 17. 9 Trente glorieuses. 6. 106. 8. 156 Trésor gastronomique de la France (Croze and Curnonsky). 65–66 vinegar. Second World War. 98 Zidi. First World War. 3. 23 Le Viandier (Guillaume de Tirel). 145–47 weekend. 20–21 veal. 52 Troyes. 14–15 vichyssoise. 4–6. Hundred Years War. 71. 52 Turkey. 160. 7. François. 11. 165–66 trade. 13. Napoleonic Wars. 96 walnut. 5. 160 vacation. 159. 27 vegetable. 37–38 train. 128–29. 143–44. 1. 2. 59 violet. 113–15 Week of Taste. 140. 162 vanilla. 5 vermouth. Claude. 78 trout. 61 whiting. 15 wheat. 123 Vatel. 163 wrasse. 93. 85 zucchini. 49. 4–5. 138 turnip. 71 wedding. recipe. 13. 24–25. 1. 59. 55 United States. 3–5. 50 worker. 10. 76 Vercingétorix. 49 Troisgros. FrancoPrussian War. 162 watercress. 98 trou normand. 126. 120–21 transhumance. 75 Visigoths. Émile. 157–59 women. 122. 134 vending machine. 158. 52. 30–31 utensil. 10–11. 113. 56. 65 UCO (Unidentiﬁed Comestible Object). 94–95 woodcock. 76. 89–90. 119. 97. 6
wafﬂe. 9. 28. 109–10. 113–14 Véfour. 6 trufﬂe. 65–68. Guillaume de. 138. 6. 46. 60 Vienne. 104. 68
. 43–45. 67–68. 121–22. 52 wild rice. 150 transubstantiation. 13. 78 Versailles. 23. 165. recipe. 18 wine. 161 whale. 61 turbot. 71 war: Battle of Fat and Lean. 45. 164–66 urbanization. 26. 5 Villeneuve. 6. 44. 162 vegetarian. 20–21 Vaux-le-Vicomte. 108 venison. 11. 47 Le Ventre de Paris (Zola). 120. 85 turkey. 16 waiter.Index toxoplasmosis. 121. 8. 155–56 water. 10–14. Claude Uderzo. 85 verbena. 31–32 World Health Organization. 2–5. 118 Tunisia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JULIA ABRAMSON is Associate Professor of French at the University of Oklahoma. Norman.
and North Africa Peter Heine Food Culture in Mexico Janet Long-Solís and Luis Alberto Vargas Food Culture in South America José Raphael Lovera Food Culture in the Caribbean Lynn Marie Houston Food Culture in Russia and Central Asia Glenn R. Mack and Asele Surina Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa Fran Osseo-Asare
. Medina Food Culture in the Near East. Middle East. Newman Food Culture in Great Britain Laura Mason Food Culture in Italy Fabio Parasecoli Food Culture in Spain Xavier F.Recent Titles in Food Culture around the World Food Culture in Japan Michael Ashkenazi and Jeanne Jacob Food Culture in India Colleen Taylor Sen Food Culture in China Jacqueline M.